Authorities seeking cause of motel fire

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, November 7, 2001

A Brookhaven motel suffered damage to several rooms after a firebroke out Monday night, according to authorities.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department received a call around9:40 p.m. Monday about the fire at Super 8 Motel, located onDunn-Ratcliff Road near the north Brookhaven exit of Interstate 55,said authorities.

“Room 223 was fully involved. The volunteer fire departmentswere able to contain the fire to that one room,” said NarcoticsOfficer/Arson Investigator Dustin Bairfield.

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Loyd Star, New Sight, Hog Chain and Heuck’s Retreat VolunteerFire Departments were among the units responding to the scene.

Room 223 was a total loss, but the surrounding rooms onlysustained minor water and smoke damage, Bairfield stated.

He was impressed by the firefighters’ work because he pointedout that a fire in a complex, such as a hotel or apartmentbuilding, can be extremely difficult to contain.

Investigators determined that the fire was started on the floornear a bed in the room, which was occupied by Eric Russell Alredge,19, of Louisiana.

Alredge was taken to King’s Daughters Medical Center for smokeinhalation, according to Bairfield.

JoAnna Sproles, director of marketing and development, saidAlredge was being treated and was in stable condition Wednesdaymorning.

Authorities have not determined the cause of the fire, butbelieve anhydrous ammonia could have been a factor.

“Once the fire was put out, we noticed a real strong anhydrousammonia smell present in the room,” Bairfield said. “Apparentlywhatever was inside the room burnt up because we have not found anyevidence of it yet.”

Anhydrous ammonia is an agent used in the production of crystalmethamphetamine, a drug produced under highly flammablecircumstances.

No charges have been filed, but the investigation will continue,Bairfield commented.