Man arrested after setting apartment building ablaze after being evicted, SAPD says

John Lopez, 39, is charged with arson habitation, a first-degree felony

A man was arrested after San Antonio police said he torched his apartment building after being evicted. The fire led to many other residents being displaced.

SAN ANTONIO – A man was arrested after San Antonio police said he torched his apartment building after being evicted. The fire led to many other residents being displaced.

John Lopez, 39, is charged with arson habitation, a first-degree felony, according to an arrest affidavit.

He was arrested Saturday in connection with a large fire that ripped through a home with at least seven apartment units on Friday afternoon, in the 800 block of Quincy Street.

Police said Lopez was evicted from his apartment inside of the home earlier in the day by Bexar County Constables.

Video surveillance footage showed Lopez came back after his eviction and was seen walking in the front yard of the property, carrying a small, red plastic gas container, according to SAPD.

He then went to the back side of the home and returned moments later with no container in hand, police said. When Lopez left, officials said there were no signs of a fire.

Two hours later, around 2 p.m., Lopez was seen on video walking again to the back side of the home before coming back to the front and leaving the property, an affidavit states.

Minutes later, police said smoke could be seen coming from the back of the home, leading to the fire.

The fire began in the back of the home before it quickly spread to the attic. Firefighters said they were able to get control of the flames in about 15 minutes.

No injuries were reported, but residents were displaced.

As arson investigators went through the damaged units, they found the fire had originated from a red plastic gas container, found underneath the floor inside of the bathroom in Lopez’s former apartment, an affidavit states.

Part of the floor was removed so Lopez could place the gas container, according to police.

At least one neighbor also told police that he heard Lopez threaten to burn down the place after he was given a notice of eviction, about a week before the fire, SAPD said.

Lopez eventually returned to the home again after the fire and was detained by police after he was found to have an active municipal county warrant, according to police.

When interviewed, police said Lopez denied threatening to burn the house down and denied setting the fire, despite video evidence.

Court records show Lopez is being held in the Bexar County Jail and his bond is set at $1,000.

Also on KSAT:


About the Author:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.