Detroit Fire Truck

(Photo: WWJ/Mike Campbell)

Man Charged In Firebombing On Detroit's West Side That Left 16-Year-Old Badly Burned

James Bishop Craft, III, is charged with first-degree arson.

March 26, 2019 - 7:44 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) - A Detroit man is jailed, accused of firebombing a west side apartment building with a family inside. 

The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office has charged 22-year-old James Bishop Craft, III, in connection with the arson last Friday on Schaefer Highway north of Plymouth Road. The firebombing injured eight people, including a 16-year-old girl who suffered burns to around 70 percent of her body.

James Bishop Craft, III
James Bishop Craft, III (Booking photo)
Detroit police said they were able to use HD video from a Project Green Light business in conjunction with the city’s license plate reader technology," great investigative " and "relentless follow-up" to identify Craft as the culprit. 

Craft was arrested Sunday and arraigned in 36th District Court Tuesday on a charge of first degree arson. Bond was set at $400,000. 

Detroit Fire Deputy Commissioner Dave Fornell said four of the victims were children, including the teen girl who was critically injured. The other seven victims were hospitalized for smoke inhalation and/or minor burns and were listed in stable condition. 

"When we got there there was a tremendous amount of fire and some injured civilians," he told WWJ's Michael Cohen, describing the weapon used as "a Molotov cocktail."

"It's a bottle of gasoline and there's a wick -- it could be a burning rag -- and your throw that, the bottle breaks, and of course whatever flammable liquid in there spreads...and it causes a very intense blaze very rapidly," Fornell said.

Authorities did not release a motive for the firebombing.

Craft is due back in court for a probable cause conference on April 8, followed by a preliminary examination on April 15.