Lewisville, TX – Sprinkler system activated in arson fire at apartment building

A man remains in jail after he threatened, and then followed through with, setting his girlfriend’s apartment on fire.

Josh Manning was arrested and charged with arson. He remains in the Denton County jail in lieu of $26,500 in bonds. He also was charged with probation revocation for driving while intoxicated with a child under 15 years old.

According to the probable cause for Manning, around 3:35 a.m. July 1 firefighters were dispatched to a structure fire at Valley Ridge Apartment Homes, 1000 Valley Ridge Boulevard. Firefighters arrived to find light smoke showing from the second floor balcony.

When crews entered the apartment, the fire sprinkler above the couch in the living room was spraying water. Crews also found a smoldering fire in the living room on the floor and couch.

When firefighters began investigating, they found fire damage surrounding a tray table, on the carpet, the couch and smoke and water damage throughout the apartment. They also found what was possibly a roll of paper towels and a cloth towel that had fire damage, according to the affidavit.

Lewisville Fire Department Division Chief Mark Richards responded and interviewed the woman who lived in the apartment. She said her ex-boyfriend, Manning, came to her apartment to visit their daughter. She said everything was fine until he got a phone call. After that, the two began arguing, and Manning threatened to burn her apartment.

At that point, she left the apartment with her daughter. According to the affidavit, Manning began sending her threatening text messages.

As she was driving, Manning sent her another text that showed a fire in her living room, according to the affidavit. She came back home and saw smoke on the second floor breezeway and on her balcony.

Later that morning, around 9:35 a.m., Lewisville police officers located Manning. Richards responded to the location, and Manning agreed to speak with him. When asked about the fire earlier that morning, Manning said he didn’t know anything, according to the affidavit.

When confronted with the photos of the fire and threatening texts, Manning turned around, put his hands behind his back and refused to answer more questions, according to the affidavit.

Manning, who is homeless, was deemed a flight risk and was then arrested for starting the fire, according to the affidavit. The affidavit stated, “Manning was reckless about whether the burning would endanger the life of some individual or the safety or the property of another.”

Richards said if not for the fire sprinkler system the fire would have consumed the apartment, risking the lives of multiple families. In the end, the fire was about $70,000 in damage.

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