Arson Suspect Arrested After Setting Fire to Home

Wichita Falls Police were called to assist firefighters yesterday in the 1900 block of Minnetaska Avenue after a resident at the house allegedly tried to set himself on fire, but ended up setting the house on fire.

The man was identified by police as John Thomas, 23.

The fire was called in at 3:10 p.m. and according to the Wichita Falls Fire Department a small-breed dog was killed.

Police said they could smell lighter fluid on Thomas, but Fire Marshal David Collins disagreed with police about Thomas' motive for starting the fire.  "I haven't finished the investigation yet,  but by his own admission I'm not convinced he was trying to set himself on fire.  I am convinced he tried to set the house on fire," said Collins.

Collins said there was approximately $15,000 in damage to the home, mainly to the living room, dining room area, and a hallway.  The remainder of the house received smoke damage. There were no human injuries in the fire.

Thomas was transported to the County Jail, where he was arrested by fire department arson investigators and charged with arson.