A 36-year-old Grand Island man was arrested Saturday morning after allegedly trying to start three fires at three Grand Island businesses.

Patrick W. Jones was successful in getting fires started at two of those businesses — the Courtesy Court motel at 2301 W. Second St. and Ace Hardware and Garden Center at 1704 W. Third St. The crimes were committed in the middle of the morning.

The suspected arsonist was most successful at Courtesy Court.

“That damage was fairly extensive. I know they have two units that are uninhabitable at this time,” said Grand Island Police Capt. Jim Duering. In addition to his own room, a neighboring unit sustained damage.

The damage was estimated at $5,000.

“But that could be a little bit on the low side,” Duering said. The motel had to call firefighters back to take care of fire that had gotten into the attic or roof truss area, he said.

The suspect was largely unsuccessful at the Resident Suites, 2114 W. Second St. That damage can probably be taken care of with soap, Duering said.

He did get a fire going in an aisle at Ace Hardware. “The employee was able to stomp it out with his foot, but it caused damage to the floor.”

To start the fire, the suspect used paint thinner, lighter fluid and a lighter, Duering said.

The Courtesy Court was temporarily evacuated, but no one was injured at either of the fires.

Jones was arrested for three counts of first-degree arson, one count of shoplifting and one count of theft.

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