Austin man tried to set the ARCH on fire, police say

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(Photo: Austin Police Department)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Police arrested a man who they say was caught on video setting fire to the ARCH homeless shelter in downtown Austin early Thursday morning.

According to court documents, someone told police that a man threw “some type of chemical” against the front door of the ARCH and had a lighter in his hand. When police got to the scene they detained 36-year-old Brandon Thomas.

Police searched Thomas and found both a bottle of lighter fluid and a lighter. AFD arson investigators also found styrofoam cup remains that smelled like lighter fluid just a few feet away from the homeless shelter’s main doors.

During the the incident, about 50 people were around the ARCH and it was also filled with people sleeping.

Thomas refused to speak to investigators upon questioning, but since police say security camera footage showed a man who matched Thomas’ description walking up to the ARCH and throwing a flaming object at the front door, he was arrested.

He is charged with attempted arson and at last report, he was in custody at the Travis County Jail.

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