Man arrested in connection with fire at Coronado Tower

EL PASO, Texas - El Paso Fire Department officials confirmed Sunday morning the arrest of a man in connection with a fire sparked at the Coronado Tower on the 6000 block of North Mesa Saturday evening.

Kevin Rodriguez, a 21-year-old man, was arrested and charged with arson, fire officials said.

Officials said the fire was started on the second floor of the tower around 8 p.m.

A total of 18 fire unit and 48 firefighters were sent to the fire after learning of the blaze inside the 10-story structure.

When crews arrived, flames and smoke were observed. The building was evacuated as the lobby filled with smoke, officials said.

An attached building, KFOX studios, was also evacuated.

Crews tamed the fire on the second floor, where heavy smoke was located, according to officials.

Officials said two witnesses detained Rodriguez until police arrived.

Rodriguez was booked into the county jail on one count of arson. His bail was set at $250,000.

Officials said damage to the Coronado Tower is estimated at $1,000,000.

According to arson investigators, the fire was purposely set in a janitor closet.

Officials said people will not be able to reenter the building until ventilation has been completed on the building. Officials added carbon monoxide readings need to be lowered, and the Health Department must clear the building.

During the incident, El Paso Electric confirmed power was cut off from the building to ensure safety for firefighters.

Employees of the restaurant Basico, which is within the building, were also evacuated. Some told ABC-7 they believed a disgruntled employee had set a fire. 

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