WATCH: Man caught on doorbell cam setting front porch on fire in Surprise

William Sanders says it's thanks to his quick-thinking neighbors his home didn't go up in flames after a man set his front porch on fire.
Published: Dec. 23, 2022 at 2:13 PM MST|Updated: Dec. 23, 2022 at 5:37 PM MST
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SURPRISE, Ariz. (3TV/CBS 5) — Surprise police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a man who set a front porch on fire, in a brazen crime that was caught on a doorbell camera.

It happened around 5:15 p.m. Thursday in a neighborhood near Greenway Road and Bullard Avenue. Video shows the man walk up to the porch, then rub his elbow on the Ring doorbell before pouring a flammable liquid on the wall and front door. He’s then seen lighting the fire before walking back to his car and driving away.

William Sanders says it’s thanks to some quick-thinking neighbors who used the hose on the side of his home to put out the flames. He says he was at a friend’s house when he got the notification. “I was sitting at the dining room table, we were chatting, and I got an alert on my phone from my ring doorbell, and when I looked down on it, all I could see was fire,” Sanders said. “All I could think of was, ‘I hope somebody has contacted the fire department so they can put it out before I come home to a pile of ashes.’”

Sanders has lived in this home for the past five years. It’s where he’s made memories with his kids, grandkids, and late wife. It’s those memories he says he was most scared of losing. “I don’t know that I’d know where to begin anymore. All the memories, pictures, things, possessions,” he said.

Days ahead of Christmas, he’s trying to find the small things to be thankful for. “I didn’t like this carpet anyway,” he said as he walked through his home just a day after it was set on fire. But he knows things could have been worse. “At least I don’t have to start from slab,” he said.

Video courtesy of Bill Sanders. Police are looking for a man caught on a doorbell camera setting fire to a porch door in a Surprise neighborhood.

But he’s left wondering why it even happened at all. “I have no idea who it is and I have no idea why he would’ve done that. I have racked my brain since it happened trying to figure out if I had done something and I can’t come up with anything,” Sanders said.

Police say the suspect has red hair, a medium build and is about 5′9″ to 5′10″. He was seen driving away in a gray or silver 4-door sedan.

Police say they don’t have any information on a possible connection between the suspect and Sanders. Anyone with information on this arson investigation is asked to email or call 623-222-TIPS. Refer to incident number 221204221.