On July 9, a fire was reported after police say a witness saw smoke coming from an apartment complex near 900 S. Washington Boulevard.
According to a probable cause statement, the witness also spotted Mariano Martin Hernandez, an evicted tenant of the apartment, leaving the complex as a fire alarm sounded.
When police later found Hernandez near 300 E. 12th St., they say he was carrying a suitcase and backpack.
Officers searched his suitcase and backpack and found a butane torch-style lighter.
Hernandez was detained by police and taken back to the apartment complex. A fire marshal was then called in to investigate Hernandez’s apartment and determined the fire had started on a coffee table in his living room.
“There appeared to be liquid trails on the table indicating an accelerant may have been used,” police said in a probable cause statement.
In an interview with police, Hernandez told authorities he hadn’t been at the apartment complex since the night prior, after he was evicted, a probable cause statement shows.
The suspect also claimed he had not been near the apartment that day, but later changed his story and said he had been at a nearby store when the fire occurred. However, an employee of the store told police Hernandez had not been in the store that day, a probable cause statement shows.
Surveillance video obtained by police showed Hernandez on the south side of the apartment complex just before the fire was reported.
Hernandez has been charged with one count of aggravated arson, a first-degree felony.