Victim ready to forgive after deadly San Marcos fire found to be intentionally set
“Whoever did burn it down, I hope they get the help they need. I don't wish them any ill will,” said Jackson King.
The fire victim who lost all his belongings in a San Marcos apartment fire is ready to forgive. King is speaking out after investigators with the San Marcos Fire Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined the Iconic Village Apartment fire was intentionally set.
The July 20th fire is the deadliest fire in San Marcos history. Five people died and several others were injured. In addition, 200 people were displaced by the fire, including King.
On Tuesday, the senior at Texas State University says it's hard to believe the fire was a crime, not an accident.
“The wall of smoke came into the apartment and all you could see outside of the door was fire,” said King. “It was chaos because there was just smoke and fire everywhere.”
King remembers not being able to breathe and thinking he might suffocate.
“I kind of just went into survival mode. I just bailed out the back window with my glasses,” said King.
Everything else, including his phone, computer , clothes and textbooks burned when the San Marcos apartment complex was consumed by flames. King says he did not have renter's insurance. The night is seared into his memory.
“It was crazy. It was crazy. I think about it all the time,” said King.
Back in July, Jackson wanted to know how, why and who was to blame.
“There's been all kind of speculation on what could have happened, who it could have been,” said King.
But now that federal investigators have ruled the Iconic Village Apartment fire was intentionally set the Texas State student says he doesn’t care to know. He says he's moved past needing or even wanting an explanation.
“It's been hard to wait this long and just now get this news that it was arson,” said King. “At this point it doesn't make a difference to me how it burned down.”
The senior has never been allowed back inside his old apartment. But even though there's nothing he can salvage there, Kings says he has found something that's more important than anything on the other side of the security fence.
“You don't think about how much you love life until it's almost taken away from you,” said King. “This Christmas I'm just going to be giving gifts. I don't want anything for Christmas. I'm lucky to still be alive.”
King says the fire has been an emotional and financial blow. He still hasn't been able to replace his computer. But King says because of the fire he now has renter's insurance.