Man accused of setting New Smyrna Beach home on fire with girlfriend inside

Troy Ladd arrested outside house

A man is charged with attempted murder after a home is burned in New Smyrna Beach.
A man is charged with attempted murder after a home is burned in New Smyrna Beach.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – A man was arrested on attempted murder charges in Volusia County early Monday after being accused of setting a house ablaze while his girlfriend slept inside.

Troy Ladd, 49, was also arrested on arson charges in connection with the incident, which began late Sunday at a home in the 2000 block of Mallonee Road in New Smyrna Beach.

When deputies arrived to the scene just after midnight, firefighters were already engaged in fighting the fire as Ladd stood in the middle of the road, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office report. When deputies asked what had happened, he said that he had been in the backyard burning his possessions, then said, "You might as well go ahead and arrest me."

Ladd's 46-year-old girlfriend, Deborah Jeffers, said at 10 p.m. he was in the backyard burning some of his belongings, which included his clothes, television and a video game system. She woke up a few minutes before midnight because of popping noises she could hear.

When she got up out of the bedroom to see what the noises were, she saw Ladd with a gas can, pouring gasoline on the living room couch and then he continued to walk into other rooms pouring gasoline as he went.

"I was terrified," she told Local 6. "I was shaking so bad I couldn't see straight."

She fled outside and found her Jeep already set on fire, which was the popping noises she heard. She asked some neighbors, who were outside, to call 911.

"I was stuck over in the other side of the yard because I was afraid it was going to blow up," Jeffers said.

At no time during the incident did Ladd try to wake his girlfriend up or warn her in any way about the fire. Ladd was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach and was denied bond at his first appearance.