A bathroom fire incident during an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Detroit ended with the arrest of a man who appeared to be the hero. It turned out the flight attendant who reported the fire also started it, Detroit Free Press reports.
Johnathan Tafoya-Montano notified his fellow flight attendants before grabbing a fire extinguisher to put out a burning paper towel. The captain was notified and requested emergency landing at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. No one was hurt, and Tafoya-Montano was hailed as a hero for preventing what could have been a catastrophe.
A month latter, however, Tafoyo-Montano was arrested and admitted he was the one who started the fire. Using a green Bic lighter he set the rear lavatory’s paper towels on fire. The 23-year-old from Texas then stepped into the hallway and waited until there was a considerable flame before pretending to discover the emergency.
During the FBI’s investigation they discovered no one was in the vicinity of the bathroom except Tafoya-Montano in the 15 to 20 minutes leading up to the fire.
Tafoya-Montano was charged with “destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities” and “false statements or entries generally” and first appeared in court Wednesday morning. He was released on bond, but the judge ordered he be escorted during his flight home to Texas with special instruction that he is not permitted to leave his seat.