Suspect arrested in Sunshine Motel fire
YAKIMA, Wash. - Detectives believe a Yakima motel fire started when flames spread from a dumpster that previously caught fire.
The Yakima Fire Department went to 1223 N. 1st Street around 7:21 a.m. Friday to the fire that had spread to four out of the six units at Sunshine Motel on North First Street.
A fire crew initially went to the location on a 9-1-1 report of a dumpster fire, and called in more assistance due to heavy smoke in the area. Reports said the dumpster was fully engulfed in flames and was beginning to spread to the attic of the motel.
Firefighters alerted occupants to leave the building. All six motel units were being occupied at the time of the fire.
Crews had to cut holes in the motel roof and pull out interior ceiling to attack the flames and completely extinguish the fire.
Officials with the Yakima Police Department (YPD) and YFD said no one was injured in, except one person from a different building of the motel had difficulty breathing. The person was checked out by medical staff and was later determined to be okay.
PP&L cut power to the motel building. Northbound lanes were also restricted down to one lane in the area at North First Street while firefighters were on site.
Firefighters said the fire caused great damage to four of the six units in the motel.
The people displaced by the fire were moved to different rooms within the same motel. The motel is still in operation.
A brother and sister who were staying at the motel shared their experience of the fire with Action News.
The 10-year-old sister said she could see a girl light pellets on fire outside of her room. She said she could see this taking place from her friend's window where she was sleeping over for the night.
The 15-year-old said he kicked down a door to help an injured person get to safety during the fire evacuations.
YFD reports said video cameras caught a person lighting a fire in some mattresses on the south side of the motel.
This case is under investigation. Police said a 29-year-old woman is arrested on suspicions of arson.
UPDATE: Alexus Ortiz was arrested and charged with arson after video surveillance shows her at the scene.
Ortiz's bail is set at $55,000.