Police arrest man accused of arson in downtown hotel fire

SAN ANTONIO – A man is charged with arson in a downtown hotel fire that happened Tuesday morning.

Mario Saenz, 39, was taken in handcuffs after a hotel manager helped investigators.

Firefighters were called to Hotel Valencia Riverwalk at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. Records show Saenz was taken into custody just a half-hour after investigators arrived at the scene.

RELATED: Fire in utility closet forces evacuation of hotel

While the fire was small, it was serious enough to cause the evacuation of the entire building downtown.

An affidavit said the hotel assistant manager told investigators Saenz was in a utility closet tossing cardboard onto a fire.

But investigators said he was not trying to stop the flames and, instead, kept them going.

Officers said Saenz admitted to using a red lighter to start the fire.

The arrest affidavit said Saenz told investigators he had done too much "ice earlier" and that shadows were after him.

He is facing a drug charge, as well as the arson charge.