AUSTIN, Texas - A man has been arrested in connection to a fire at a North Austin car dealership and is now facing an arson charge. The Austin Fire Department says Hector Anthony Rodriguez is charged with arson for the fire at the San Fernando Motors in the 8500 block of North Lamar. Rodriguez faces up to 20 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Court documents state that the Austin Police Department responded to a report of glass breaking at San Fernando Motors at around 4:14 a.m. on February 6, When APD officers arrived, they found the dealership on fire and requested a response from AFD. While checking for victims, APD officers encountered a man who was identified as Rodriguez.
Booking photo of Hector Rodriguez courtesy Austin Fire Department.
The documents state that Rodriguez told APD officers that he had used gas in a plastic water bottle and a lighter to start the fire. Rodriguez reportedly also said that he had opened fuel caps and was going to set a vehicle on fire as well in an attempt to get an emergency services response.
AFD investigators spoke to Rodriguez and say that Rodriguez told them that he had started the fire on the porch of the building. Rodriguez also reportedly also produced a lighter from his pocket which is what he said was used to start the fire. He reportedly changed his story and told investigators he did not use gas in a plastic bottle but paper to start the fire.
Rodriguez faces up to 20 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. The cost of the damages to the dealership is estimated to be about $112,500.