Man charged with arson in Gas Pipe fire

Orlando McLaurin

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Police say a man deliberately lit a garbage pile on fire outside the Gas Pipe business on East 5th Street in downtown over the weekend.

A “resident/manager” of the Gas Pipe woke Saturday to the sound of pounding on the business’s door. When he looked at surveillance camera video, he saw that a fire was blocking his only exit. He called 911, and emergency crews were able to quickly extinguish the fire, according to an arrest warrant.

After reviewing security footage, police believe Orland Ray Crisco Mclaurin, 53, intentionally started the fire by lighting a piece of paper with a cigarette and placing it in a trash pile next to the building, the affidavit states.

Mclaurin is a transient, according to the affidavit, and the business manager told police he remembered the man because he told jokes when he came into the business.

A security guard at the nearby Austin Convention Center told police he tried to put the fire out with three fire extinguishers. The security guard also produced a notebook with pictures of transients known to cause trouble in the area, and it contained a picture of Mclaurin and matched the suspect in Gas Pipe surveillance video, according to the warrant.

Police said the fire caused about $1,000 in damage, and Mclaurin has been charged with arson, a first-degree felony.

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