2nd man arrested on arson charge in fire that displaced 8 families

Affidavit: Man tried to use woman as an alibi

Norman Robert Jones, 40, has been charged with arson, among other charges related to separate recent incidents, according to records with the Bexar County Jail.
Norman Robert Jones, 40, has been charged with arson, among other charges related to separate recent incidents, according to records with the Bexar County Jail. (Bexar County Jail)

SAN ANTONIO – A second man has been arrested in connection with a fire that broke out at a Northwest Side apartment complex in June, displacing eight families that lived there.

Norman Robert Jones, 40, has been charged with arson, among other charges related to separate recent incidents, according to records with the Bexar County Jail.

Another suspect in the blaze, Ryan James Simpson, 35, was booked July 2 on charges of arson and stalking, records show.

The fire started outside a ground-floor unit on June 28 at the Residences at Medical Apartments in the 2500 block of Babcock Road. Eight families who lived in the complex were displaced, but no one was injured.

A male tenant told police that he heard “crackling” on the porch and looked outside to see a fire. He believed Simpson, a man he knew but who didn’t live at the complex, “had something to do with” the fire, as he was angry at him for allegedly taking his guns worth about $5,000, an arrest affidavit states.

The tenant said he believed Simpson had an accomplice because his “scooter” was missing from outside the apartment.

Simpson was also accused of texting the man that he had “24 hours before things of his magically start exploding randomly,” the affidavit states.

Investigators said the tenants’ cars caught fire earlier in June, which started the initial investigation. But, police had spotted Simpson’s car leaving the area soon after the vehicle fires were reported.

After Simpson was arrested, he told police that he and Jones went to the apartment on Babcock and loaded the scooter into the bed of their truck, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

The affidavit states that while Simpson was at the truck, Jones “grabbed a lighter and headed towards” the apartment, where he allegedly ignited a pile of rags on the porch.

Police interviewed a woman that knows Jones, and she told officers that she believed he “was trying to use her as an alibi,” the affidavit states.

He told her “I was with you the night of the fire,” according to the affidavit.

Records state that Jones used his brother’s identification during several recent arrests.

Jones was arrested Wednesday and charged with arson, criminal mischief of the $2,500-$30,000, fraudulent use of identification and forgery, records show. His bond is set at $45,500.

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Rebecca Salinas has worked as a digital journalist in San Antonio for six years. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.