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June 4, 2023

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Fire official: Man caused motel blaze trying to refill lighter

The man suffered burns and spent about two months hospitalized after the May fire in Hazel Dell

By , Columbian Breaking News Reporter

A man who suffered burns after a fire at a Hazel Dell motel in May was recently released from the hospital and told investigators he accidentally caused the blaze trying to refill a lighter.

Firefighters were called to the Value Motel, 708 N.E. 78th St. at 4 a.m. May 17. Arriving crews found flames coming out of a broken window of a bottom floor motel room. They knocked down the flames within 10 minutes.

A man suffering from burns on his arms, chest and back was outside; emergency personnel transported him to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland where he stayed for just less than two months.

Deputy Clark County Fire Marshal Susan Anderson said that after the man was released from the hospital, which was around July 10, he was interviewed by investigators and Anderson determined the fire was accidental in nature.

The fire occurred when the man was filling a lighter and spilled lighter fluid on his hands and clothing, Anderson said.

The man then used a lighter to “burn the fuel off” of his hands and inadvertently lit his clothes on fire, Anderson said. He broke the motel room window to escape, she added.

Damage from smoke and fire resulted in about $48,000 damage to the structure and $25,000 to contents.

Columbian Breaking News Reporter