Police say that at around 8.40 pm, officers and the NIFRS were tasked to St Galls Avenue in the Clonard area of West Belfast.
It followed a report of a fire at a house in the area.
A canister containing some form of flammable substance was set on fire at the door of the property. The fire was extinguished by a resident before it took hold.
Detective Sergeant Kelly said: “Police are treating this incident as arson with intent to endanger life.
“I am appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident to contact detectives in Musgrave Police Station.
“We are particularly keen to identify a male who was seen running off in the direction of Conway Street during the incident.
“Anyone with any information that can assist with the investigation can contact detectives by calling 101 quoting reference number 1091 03/10/17.
“Information can also be passed anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”