Fire investigators said Wednesday that the fire that claimed the life of a Holly Lake Ranch woman and destroyed a large part of the Best Western Trail Dust Inn started in an air conditioning unit.
Assistant Fire Marshall Eric Hill said fire investigators Aaron Kager and David James interviewed hotel guests and combed through the burned out section of the hotel before making the ruling.
“It was accidental,” Hill said. “In talking with some of the occupants of the actual room where the fire started, they advised us that they woke up in the night to their fire alarm going off and could see fire coming out of the air conditioning unit in their room. We pretty much feel that it was an accidental fire.”
Hill also said the death of hotel guest Rena Goodson, 74, of Holly Lake Ranch, was attributed to smoke inhalation.
Goodson was carried from the burning building by firefighters and transferred to a Dallas hospital, where she died over the weekend.
The fatal fire broke out sometime before 2 a.m. Saturday in the west wing of the hotel.
The assistant fire marshall said the motel was booked to capacity when the fire broke out and forced evacuation of 58 people staying in that section of the hotel. Another 150 people were evacuated from adjoining buildings, which were threatened by the fire that stretched firefighting resources.
“For a small department, it was a nightmare,” he said. “And a nightmare that was compounded by a full weekend.”
Hopkins County Fire Department, Cumby and Brinker volunteer departments were called to assist and played a vital role in controlling the blaze.
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