A California man sets car on fire at Atherton Hotel

Local News

A California man is in the Centre County prison after setting a car on fire in State College, early Tuesday morning.

Just before 3:30 Tuesday morning State College Police responded to a fire call at the Atherton Hotel.
However it wasn’t the builing that was on fire.

“Folks at “The Graduate” noticed that there was some kind of fire, at the Atherton Hotel, across the street.  They heard the hotel alarm sounding and saw smoke from the issuing from the garage area,” Steve Bair, Fire Director at Alpha Fire Company, said.
 
Once police arrived on scene they noticed a Mercedes Benz was on fire.  They say the fire had spread to a car next to it.  The flames caused the ceiling sprinklers to to turn on.
 
Police used a fire extinguisher, while they were waiting for the Alpha Fire Company to come.
“Around the same time, another officer was informed there was a male throwing traffic cones around on Beaver Avenue, the officer made contact with that individual,” 
Greg Brauser, Lieutenant wth the State College Police Department, said.
 
That man is 23 year-old, Brendan Margolies, from California.
 
“That individual told the officer when he was first approached that he was “on a path of destruction”,” Lt. Brauser, said.
 
According to court documents, Margolies admitted to police that he brought matches to the parking garage, found papers inside the unlocked mercedes benz and set it on fire.  He also told police he threw threw construction barrels onto Beaver Avenue.
 
Alpha Fire says the Atherton Hotel staff was evacuating guests out of the hotel when firefighters arrived.  No one was hurt.
 
The fire company says things could have turned out a lot worse.
 
“We’re very fortunate in this case, the building ws equipped with a sprinkler system, and everybody involved handled it appropriately and properly,” Bair said.  “As a result there were no injuries and damage was minor.”
Margolies is charged with felony counts of arson endangering property, reckless burning, and a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment, among other charges.
 
Margolies’ preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 8th.

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