Fire destroys Mississippi motel, space heater blamed

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A huge fire sparked by a space heater engulfed a motel Friday morning in Mississippi, fire officials said.

Several tenants of the Hilltop Inn & Suites near Interstate 20 in Jackson were displaced by the fire, which broke out around 6 a.m., news outlets reported. One woman was reported hospitalized with minor injuries.

Cleotha Sanders, the Jackson Fire Department's division chief of fire investigations, said 46 rooms were affected by the blaze and that the motel was a total loss.

It took firefighters about an hour to get the flames under control.

Investigators said a space heater caused the fire.

Tenant Veranda Cole told The Clarion-Ledger the space heater was in her room. She believes the heater overheated and caught the curtain on fire.

"It started in my room,' said Cole. "I woke up and the wall was on fire near my children's bed. There was a lot of thick black smoke. I was yelling for my kids because I couldn't see them."

She said her husband and her children got out and started knocking on other room doors to wake people up.

Sanders said the fire has been classified as accidental.

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