An arson suspect is in custody in connection with a hotel fire in Santa Maria that left several people injured and dozens without a home.
On Sunday, Santa Maria Police announced the arrest of 57-year-old Amos Andrews of Santa Maria. Police say they found evidence that linked Andrews to the cause of the Town Center Hotel Fire. But, the nature of that evidence is not being released. Andrews was taken into custody Saturday night after an off-duty Santa Maria Police Department employee saw him inside a restaurant. Andrews was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail for arson and attempted murder
Firefighters responded to the fire around 3 a.m. Saturday at the Town Center Hotel on the 200 Block of North Broadway. They saw heavy flames and occupants hanging out of their windows because of heavy smoke. Crews evacuated the hotel and used ladders to rescue four people from the third floor.
At least 7 people were taken to Marian Regional Medical Center and Lompoc Hospital. Victims suffered minor injuries and smoke inhalation. All have been released from the hospital.
The hotel houses about 166 long-term residents. Some of the residents are low income families, the elderly, and people with mental and physical disabilities.
The Red Cross and Salvation Army are helping out. Residents have been directed to go to The Minami Community Center for shelter, transportation and food. So far, 43 people have showed up for help.
Preliminary damage estimates are over one million dollars.