Jovaughny Edwards, 38, was charged with aggravated arson and three counts of felony reckless endangerment.
Police and the Johnson City Fire Department responded to a fire in Room 118 of the Park-n-Stay Inn, 3406 W. Market St., just before 7 a.m.
Edwards allegedly told police he caught the mattress on fire to get someone’s attention because he saw three people with guns attempting to enter his room, the news release stated.
Police said Edwards was the sole occupant in the room, and after reviewing surveillance footage, it showed no one attempted to enter his room.
The fire did cause severe structural damage to the motel.
Edwards is being held at the Washington County Detention Center on $80,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in Sessions Court on Monday at 1:30 p.m.