Police: Man set two fires in hotel

LAWRENCEVILLE - A man is behind bars after authorities say he set two fires inside the stairway of a Duluth hotel on July 24.

Gwinnett Fire Department investigators have arrested 36-year-old Tony Lemont Monroe and charged him with first-degree arson. Monroe has several listed addresses in Lawrenceville, Cedartown and Duluth.

According to investigators, Monroe ignited two trash cans on the second and third floors of the Sun Suites Hotel on Steve Reynolds Boulevard shortly before 10:30 p.m.

When crews arrived, they found smoldering receptacles and an activated sprinkler system, which had helped control the flames. Firefighters evacuated the building as they checked for additional fires and cleared the smoke, but no one was injured, officials said.

Fire department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge said investigators were able to identify Monroe, a guest at the hotel, from security camera footage.

"Monroe confessed to setting the fires during an interview with fire investigators," Rutledge said.

Monroe's motive is unclear.

After being booked into the Gwinnett County Jail, where he is being held without bond, Monroe was served additional warrants from Polk and Haralson county sheriff's departments.

Investigators have also ruled arson as the cause of a July 5 early morning house fire at Beau Point Court in Snellville.

The two-story home was intentionally set on fire at about 3 a.m., officials said.

Rutledge said an accelerant was used to ignite a fire inside the home, but could not release more specific information due to the ongoing investigation.

A man was reportedly at the home around the time of the fire, investigators said, but left before crews arrived. Rutledge said the man is being sought out as a witness.

Anyone with information is urged to call fire investigators at 678-518-4890 or the Georgia Arson Control hotline at 1-800-282-5804.