FIRE INVESTIGATORS HAVE LOCATED THE ORIGIN AND CAUSE of the Hoover, Alabama, hotel fire that killed four college students last weekend. The fire began in the living quarters of the Days Inn’s resident maintenance man after he left his room with incense candles burning inside.
Fire Marshal’s photo showing the point of origin
Dhirajlal Bhagat, 55, returned to his room and found it ablaze. He first got a fire extinguisher to try and put it out, but the extinguisher didn’t work. He then tried to use a hotel phone to call in the fire, but reportedly he couldn’t get that to work either. Next he ran upstairs for another extinguisher, but by then the fire was too large for that.
The four women were trapped in their room on the floor above as the blaze burned outside their door. As it spread into the room, they retreated into the bathroom where they were later found by the firefighters. An autopsy disclosed that they died from smoke inhalation.
During the investigation it was found that Bhagat, who is from India, is in the country illegally and he is being held in the Hoover jail on an immigration charge. He will not be charged for the fire because it was ruled to be accidental.
Read more in the Montgomery Advertiser HERE.
TV Channel 42 has a good video report on what happened including the police press conference: