During the early morning hours of February 15 at approximately 4 a.m., Highlands Police Officer Eryn Sueyklang observed a pickup truck parked in the parking lot of the North 4th Street Market Shell engulfed in flames while on routine patrol, said HPD Chief Bill Harrell in a statement.
The vehicle at the 4th Street Market and Shell gas station was parked within a few feet of steps leading to an occupied apartment above. Sueyklang and Master Officer Thomas Parker responded immediately and contacted the Highlands Fire & Rescue for assistance.
Both Officers tried to extinguish the fire with their cruiser equipped extinguishers, but the fire was too overpowering. The HFR’s quick arrival and actions contained the fire from spreading any farther onto the structure and adjacent portable propane tanks.
Minutes before the fire department’s arrival, officers evacuated both apartments upstairs without injury, which were occupied by five people who were sleeping in two separate apartments.
Suspect arrested and charged
“An aggressive investigation, which is still ongoing has currently led to a suspect identified as Stephen Shiebler, Jr., residing in Highlands,” said Harrell. “Stephen Shiebler, Jr. has been arrested and charged with 1st Degree Arson and Burning of Personal Property and a $125,000 bond was set. Further charges are pending as the investigation is on-going.”
Photos courtesy of Highlands Police Department