Man arrested in New Jersey motel fire

December 1, 2009 8:54:33 AM PST
An allegedly drunk Jersey City man set a North Bergen motel on fire Tuesday morning following an argument with family members. Authorities say 21-year-old Jesse Osorio, who was staying at the motel with his girlfriend, was taken into custody after he was caught on surveillance video outside the Seville Motel on Tonnelle Avenue just after 12:30 a.m.

He was charged with aggravated arson and causing or risking widespread injury.

Wearing a white jacket and a black Yankees hat, he was seen on tape smoking a cigarette in a stairway to the second floor. He then pressed the cigarette into a cart of linens in a hallway and walked to his car in the parking lot.

The fire quickly spread to a first floor hallway and tore up a stairway to the second floor. Firefighters were met with heavy flames when they arrived.

Guests fled the flames, many running with the bags into the night.

One woman had to be rescued from a second-floor balcony after becoming trapped.

Four rooms were damaged by the flames. Firefighters are still not sure if guests will be allowed back into their rooms.

Osorio was detained, as were other hotel patrons, as police arrived to the scene.

During questioning, Osario told investigators he started the fire because he was drunk and was upset from a family argument.