Arson suspect in southwest Austin duplex fire arrested

Patrick Lee Corley, accused of intentionally setting fire to an apartment complex on Hill Forest Drive in southwest Austin on Nov. 6, 2016 (Austin Police Department Photo)
Patrick Lee Corley, accused of intentionally setting fire to an apartment complex on Hill Forest Drive in southwest Austin on Nov. 6, 2016 (Austin Police Department Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The suspect in a southwest Austin apartment arson case on Sunday has been arrested.

Patrick Lee Corley was arrested by the Austin Fire Department’s Investigations section, along with the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force, U.S. Marshal’s Service and the Austin Police Department.

After making threats via text message to his ex-girlfriend, Corley allegedly set fire to the apartment building, causing almost $250,000 in damages. Investigators say Corley texted his ex between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, saying he was going to do something to her family’s house. The family says they took off in fear, when he started breaking windows and vandalizing the home.

Patrick Lee Corley, accused of intentionally setting fire to an apartment complex on Hill Forest Drive in southwest Austin on Nov. 6, 2016 (Austin Police Department Photo)
Patrick Lee Corley, accused of intentionally setting fire to an apartment complex on Hill Forest Drive in southwest Austin on Nov. 6, 2016 (Austin Police Department Photo)

The following morning, Corley texted again, saying he was going to set the house on fire if the victim didn’t answer. The ex-girlfriend lived in the house on Hill Forest Drive, with her 1-year-old daughter, her 6-year-old brother and her mother.

“I lost everything, everything I own. So many memories, it’s horrific,” said Amanda Hodges tearfully, the ex-girlfriend’s mother.

Corley was arrested Monday in South Austin, after sending more texts saying he was going to set another relative’s house on fire. Fire investigators say Corley admitted setting the fire with a lighter. It also caused damage to the other side of the duplex. In all, four adults and three children lost their home, but they were not hurt.

Investigators say Corley does not have a history of arson, but has been arrested before for family violence, making a terroristic threat and other misdemeanor violations.

The fire department says the fire is unrelated to one that happened on Halloween less than a block away.

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