Mercedes Police Investigating Overnight Car Garage Fire
MERCEDES – The Mercedes Police Department is on the hunt for a person of interest in connection to an overnight fire. It happened at a parking garage near an apartment complex.
The flames broke out around 2:30 a.m. Friday at a car garage on the corner of 5th and Ohio. At least 10 vehicles inside the garage were damaged.
People in a nearby apartment complex were all evacuated after the electricity went out. Julio Trevino was one of the tenants that were evacuated.
He said he and his family were asleep when they were awoken by sirens.
“Of course first thought was to get out my family and everything, but our car is in the first carport here in the car garage and it was pretty much on fire,” Trevino said.
Mercedes police is already calling the case an arson investigation.
Authorities said the fire could have possibly started near one end of the garage.
Another homeowner said she usually parks her cars in the garage.
“We parked our cars in the front and he had it parked back there, but for some reason he moved it to the front and both of our cars were luckily not damaged,” she said.
The apartment complex was recently renovated. The fire caused damages to a nearby business, the apartment windows and it blew out the apartment electricity.
Families were forced to get all their belongings and seek shelter in a nearby church.
“I’m just glad everybody got out on time and safe that’s really the good thing,” she said.
The evidence from the scene will be sent to Austin to be reviewed by DPS.
It isn’t known when the power will be back up.
They released an image of a man they are calling a person of interest. Anyone with information can call Mercedes Crime Stoppers at 650-5058.
Agencies from across the Valley are assisting the Mercedes Police Department. South Texas Fire Investigators Association Vice President, Rolando Casas, explained the South Texas Arson Response Team helped in the response.
It’s composed of different investigators from Zapata County all the way to South Padre Island.
Casas said they helped process the scene.
“Getting all the information from each vehicles, the VIN numbers, the license plates, taking statements. Whatever the lead investigator agency requires or needs we assist them in any way and aspect that they need,” he said.
Casas explained the team also helps in the investigative process. He explained without the response team it would take longer for an agency to solve a case.