A former employee allegedly decided to respond to being fired with fire, authorities said.
Oscar Mendez, 43, of Perry Hall, was arrested June 4 for allegedly setting a fire in the restaurant's kitchen in the shopping center, according to court documents.
A manager fired Mendez earlier in the day “when he showed up for work intoxicated,” the charging documents read. Mendez left the upscale restaurant only to return an hour later allegedly carrying a cigarette, a pack of matches and a canister of flammable fluid, authorities said.
Multiple eye-witnesses told police they saw Mendez come in through the rear door of the kitchen as he began to pour the fluid, according to court records. One source noted that Mendez told kitchen employees to leave the area as he set the fluid aflame with a match, police said.
There were about 100 people—between employees and patrons—inside at the time of the fire, which set off the sprinkler system.
Mendez fled in his 1998 Lincoln Continental, authorities said. He was later picked up by police in the 5100 block of Clifford Road outside of his Perry Hall home.
Police said they then found an undisclosed amount of marijuana, wrapped in aluminum foil, in Mendez’s pocket.
Mendez was charged with first degree arson and possession of marijuana. He posted a $350,000 bond on June 5.