ETX family narrowly escapes motel fire - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

ETX family narrowly escapes motel fire


Around 100 people were evacuated after an East Texas motel caught fire.

The fire started around 2 a.m. Saturday at the Best Western Trail Dust Inn and Suites in Sulphur Springs.

Weston Jackson said his family of five were staying at the motel when the fire started. He said he and his wife carried their eight-year-old son, three-year-old daughter and 11-month-old daughter to safety.

"There was a fire and we saw it and it was very big," explained Jackson's three-year-old daughter who he held in his arms.

"Who helped you get out of there?" We asked.

"Daddy. Thank you Daddy," she said as she turned toward Jackson.

"You're welcome," he said with a smile.

Jackson said his family was sleeping on the second floor of the motel in a room he said is just down the hall from where the fire started.

"About five minutes after we got out, I was helping other people out of the building and a big explosion occurred from where the room had happened. It broke out, complete flames everywhere and the whole building was engulfed it seemed like, almost immediately," Jackson explained.

The manager of the motel said all 99 rooms were full.

"Graduation from the high school here in Sulphur Springs that was going on, Lake Fork had the bass tournament, dairy festival here in town, hot air balloon festival as well," manager Lenny Blanton said.

The motel is separated into different buildings; the front building is the one that caught fire.

Aaron Kager is the captain arson investigator for the Sulphur Springs Fire Department. He said about 100 people were staying in that building.

The desk clerk, who the manager said had only been working at the motel for a few months, helped evacuate the residents.

"He went to work, he went knocking on doors, pulled the fire alarms," Blanton explained.

The Sulphur Springs Fire Department thanks that employee and the Sulphur Springs Police Department who arrived first on the scene.

"Several of the officers went in to the second floor hallway, which was filled with smoke without the equipment that we have," Kager said.

Although they were able to remove everyone from this burning building, one guest did not escape without serious injuries.

"A lot of people were very fortunate, however we always think about the one person who wasn't so fortunate," Kager said.

His department spoke to that guest's family who has identified her as Rena Goodson of Holly Lake Ranch. She is reported to be in ICU at a Dallas hospital.

The Jackson family said they are very fortunate to have escaped the fire unharmed.

"We lost some stuff, but it's possessions so that can all be replaced, so we are fortunate," Jackson explained.

Kager said the fire started in a second floor guest room in an air conditioning unit.

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