Man charged with arson in fire at downtown building
Austin Fire Department investigators on Tuesday arrested a man in connection with an overnight blaze at an empty building at 907 Congress Ave.
John Daniel Banks, 32, has been charged with a state jail felony of arson, said department spokesperson Michelle Tanzola. Online records show he was booked into the Travis County Jail on Tuesday. His bail was set at $25,000. If convicted, the punishment would be a fine up to $10,000 and two to 10 years in jail.
Investigators estimated the damage in Tuesday's fire at approximately $1 million.
Officials said they would not say how they identified Banks as the person who started the fire because it would "impugn the ability of our investigators on future cases."
KVUE-TV reported that according to the arrest affidavit, Banks admitted to staying in the building without permission and said he was trying to cook nachos when the fire broke out.
Building fire at the abandoned building at 903 Congress has been under Fire Standby all night. AFD crews have been watching it and extinguishing small flare ups. Hard work by AFD Firefighters kept this contained to the building of origin.
Photo: D McKeon pic.twitter.com/sefeQsCcLl
— Austin Fire Info (@AustinFireInfo) March 21, 2023
The fire started shortly after midnight and was under control by 1 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Fire Department.
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Austin man accused of setting fire to downtown building