Police arrest teenager in parking garage fire

MERCEDES — Police have arrested a teenage suspect in a parking garage fire that destroyed 11 cars.

The teen was arrested Saturday, but police have not released the name or a motive for the fire. The teen’s age was not immediately available.

By 9 a.m. Friday, residents of Mercedes Court Apartments were standing outside their homes shocked at the sight of their burned-out cars.

The blaze destroyed the entire parking garage, electrical lines and the cars belonging to residents who used their parking spots that night.

The residents were forced to stay with family or at a hotel over the weekend while crews worked to restore electricity to the building.

The complex at Sixth Street and Ohio Avenue sustained only minor damage. But windows closest to the fire broke out because of the heat.

No one was injured by the fire.

The residents were expected to be allowed back into their apartments yesterday.

Mercedes Fire Marshal Rolando Maldonado said AEP Texas was still working to connect electricity so residents could get back into their homes late yesterday afternoon.

Over the weekend the building was monitored by security and residents were not allowed back in without checking in.

On Friday morning, Maldonado released a photograph to the media of a suspect captured on the nearby Stars restaurant surveillance camera around the time of the fire.

He said sharing the photograph with media and on the Internet helped lead to the arrest.

Police responded to the fire first and evacuated the residents.

Many were roused from their sleep and made their way out of the apartment complex at the east side entrance.

Residents stood outside all night watching the inferno as firefighters worked to contain the blaze.

Maldonado said the fire was not contained until 5 a.m. and by 7 a.m. all the hotspots were cooled down.