Police: North Texas man set car, home on fire to keep woman, children from escaping

Image 1 of 3

A man has been arrested after police say he set a car and parts of a home on fire in an attempt to keep a woman and her children from escaping the flames.

This all happened in Fort Worth, at about 4 a.m. on Saturday.

Police say Courtney Smith set a car, and the two doors of a Hulen Park Circle home on fire.

The Fort Worth Fire Department’s quick response prevented what could have been something much worse.

Investigators say the victim is still a bit shaken up, but grateful no one was hurt.

With the help of SWAT and Arlington police, the 39-year-old was taken into custody Sunday morning.

Glass and what’s left of a charred vehicle remain outside a Fort Worth home, in what fire officials say was from an act of arson.

“This is obviously something that does not happen on a regular basis, but our crews did a phenomenal job,” said Mike Drivdahl, with the Fort Worth Fire Department.

Arlington police arrested Courtney Smith early Sunday morning at a home on Switchgrass Road.

Investigators say he was involved in a domestic disturbance Friday, and he then intentionally set a woman’s car on fire early Saturday morning.

They also say he set fire to the main entrances of her home, all in efforts to keep the woman and her children, which he knew were inside, from getting out.

“There were three fires set. One to the vehicle. One to the entrance of the home, and one to the back of the home,” Drivdahl said.

Arlington SWAT assisted arson detectives in the investigation and arrest.

Neighbors who did not want to be identified said SWAT called for Smith on a loud speaker for about 15 minutes just before 4 a.m. Sunday.

Witnesses say a window was broken at some point, and then authorities rammed a door of the Switchgrass Rd. home Smith was inside.

They say eventually Smith came outside.

That's when Fort Worth fire officials say the arrest happened without incident.

The motive behind setting the car and house on fire are not yet known.

“We are working with Forth Worth police and the Tarrant County District Attorney. Right now, this is being investigated as arson,” Drivdahl added.

No further details have been released, but investigators say more details could be made available Monday.