MARIETTA, Ga. -- Marietta Fire investigators believe they may have cracked a series of metro area arsons with the arrest of a 37-year-old Atlanta man on Tuesday.
They found Carlous Deushawn Banks trapped in a room at the Sun Inn motel on Highway 41 just before 3 am as fire and smoke were pouring from the front windows.
"He started the fire himself, but the problem is that he also trapped himself, so he was quite desperate when we got there," Marietta Fire Marshal Scott Tucker told 11 Alive News.
Assistant Chief Tucker said Banks escaped by breaking the rear bathroom window and crawling out.
Fire damage was confined mostly to the room Banks had rented, which was gutted.
It also turns out it wasn't his first time at the motel.
"He did stay here before, but he seems to be very quiet when he stayed here...and we never had a problem with him," motel owner Ishwar Patel told 11 Alive.
Patel praised Marietta firefighters for their quick response that kept damage to around $50,000.
It helped that one of the city's fire stations was just around the corner.
After interviewing suspect Banks, Marietta fire investigators now say he may have set 3 or 4 similar fires in at least 2 other metro area jurisdictions over the past year.
They plan to compare notes with fire departments in those areas to continue the investigation.
Meanwhile, motel guests also praised the fire department for its quick response.
"I don't think nobody should be going around doing this," guest Kymmeshia Williams told 11 Alive.
If convicted of first degree arson, Banks faces up to 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine in each case.