The burglar broke a window before climbing into the extension at the back of the detached house on Asquith Avenue, Morley, this morning (Tues Oct 16).
He could not get through locked internal doors and was seen using a cigarette lighter to set fire to kitchen roll.
The trapped burglar suffered smoke inhalation in the ensuing blaze, which caused some fire damage and extensive smoke damage to the room he was in.
The 50-year-old homeowner, who does not want to be named, said he left home at around 7am to travel to work in Leeds city centre while his 48-year-old wife and son remained at home.
The man said his wife called him just before 8am: “She said ‘there’s someone in the house and the house is on fire.’
“She was upset, scared and concerned. She called the police and they came very quickly.”
The homeowner said he came home from work to find police, fire and ambulance crews at his house, adding: “I wanted to get home as soon as possible to make sure everyone was OK.”
He added: “Who knows what was going through his mind.
“I just wonder why and how somebody has got to that state of mind to do what he did at 7am in the morning.”
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: The suspect, a 47-year-old man, from Leeds, was brought out of house by officers and was treated by ambulance staff for smoke inhalation before being taken to hospital as a precaution.
“He was arrested on suspicion of burglary and arson.”
The man’s wife and son were not injured.