HPD: Man sets 2-alarm fire after argument with wife

Woman escapes fire by jumping out of window

Published On: Nov 21 2012 06:37:13 AM CST   Updated On: Nov 21 2012 06:21:14 PM CST
HOUSTON -

A man started a 2-alarm fire after a violent argument with his wife in their southeast Houston apartment Wednesday, police said.

The blaze broke out at the The Commons on Edgebrook apartments on Arlington Square Drive near Princess Drive at 2 a.m. Police said Johnathan Rodas, 26, set the fire to get back at his wife.

"This fire started from a man and woman having a bad evening," said Jay Evans with the Houston Fire Department. "They were fighting and then flames began to come out of their apartment."

Neighbors said there has been a history of abuse between the couple.

"You would just hear them with the guy slamming her on the ground and everything," said Alex Cabrera, a neighbor.

Cabrera woke up at around 11 p.m. Wednesday to the sound of screaming and the husband and wife fighting. Police said the fight escalated when the husband began to threaten his wife, and out of fear, she jumped from the second-story window.

"All I did was move the curtains and I saw her jumping down and when I saw that, I thought 'What's happening?' and I heard the lady screaming," said Cabrera.

Investigators said Rodas used household items to set the fire after his wife left. Flames were shooting from the roof when officers arrived on the scene. Firefighters managed to contain the fire to one unit. Three surrounding units sustained smoke and water damage.

The woman is doing OK.

Police said Rodas became violent after he started drinking. He escaped the scene. Investigators believe he is hiding out somewhere in the area. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.