FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) — The Fort Worth Fire Department along with the Arlington SWAT team have located and arrested an arson suspect, who they say intentionally set fires in locations where occupants couldn’t readily escape.
Around 4:25 a.m. Saturday, the Fort Worth Fire Department responded to a vehicle fire in the 3700 block of Hulen Park Circle. When they arrived, they found a vehicle on fire as well as a housing development.
The fires were quickly extinguished and arson investigators were notified due to the suspicious nature of the fires.
The investigators determined that a total of three fires were intentional and met the elements of an arson offense.
During further investigation, it was revealed that the fires began on Friday evening and escalated from a domestic disturbance.
Officials said the suspect was aware that the residence was occupied by children, and that the fires are believed to have been intentionally set in locations to prevent occupants from readily escaping.
Investigators spent most of Saturday conducting interviews with victims and witnesses, searching the neighborhood and collecting security camera footage. They soon developed a suspect profile and a person of interest.
The suspect was located and surveillance was initiated. A search warrant and five felony arrest warrants were later obtained from a Tarrant County magistrate.
A little before 4 a.m. on Sunday, arson investigators along with the Arlington SWAT team arrested the suspect, 39-year-old Courtney Eugene Smith, and transported him to the Arlington city jail where his bond is set at $195,000.
Fire Chief James Davis said fire used as a weapon, threat, or intimidation will not be tolerated in Fort Worth.
“We will aggressively investigate and assist with prosecution to the fullest extent of the law,” Davis said.
Smith has previous records of torturing animals and making terroristic threats against his family.
Anyone with information regarding this incident or any other arson incident is asked to contact the Fort Worth Fire Department arson investigators at 817-392-6850.