A motel tenant has been arrested on accusations he intentionally caused a fire that significantly damaged the upper level of a motel near downtown Medford earlier this week while people were inside.
Jesus Ernesto Garcia, 34, was arrested Thursday on a felony charge of first-degree arson related to the Tuesday afternoon fire that heavily damaged the upper levels of the Sis-Q Motel in the 700 block of South Riverside Avenue.
Six people were inside the motel when Garcia allegedly set fire to his motel room bed from Room 114 on the second floor, according to Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau.
Garcia, who Budreau said had been staying at the motel for about two weeks leading up to the fire, was gone by the time Medford police and Fire-Rescue crews responded to the fire first reported at 4:40 p.m. Tuesday. The fire reportedly damaged adjoining rooms, the attic and roof area.
A motive is still under investigation in the arson case, but Budreau described issues surrounding Garcia’s mental health as a possible factor.
Garcia allegedly made admissions to police at the jail about intentionally setting fire to the motel, according to Medford police.
Central Point police had arrested Garcia early Wednesday evening on a warrant for violating his parole on a prior conviction for failing to register his address as a sex offender, according to Jackson County Jail records. Budreau described Central Point’s arrest as “happenstance,” because detectives hadn’t named a suspect at the time Central Point police arrested Garcia.
As of Thursday evening, Garcia had not yet been charged in Jackson County Circuit Court on an arson charge, and he remained held in jail without bail.