Man dies in fire at Vancouver motel being used as virus site

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — A 32-year-old man was killed in a fire Saturday at a former motel in east Vancouver, Washington, that is being used as a quarantine and isolation site for people exposed to COVID-19, as well as a temporary homeless shelter.

The name of the victim has not yet been released, The Columbian reported. Vancouver Fire Marshal Heidi Scarpelli said Monday that improperly discarded smoking materials caused the fire, which was confined to one room on the ground floor.

Vancouver Fire Department crews were dispatched at 1:42 a.m. for a commercial structure fire. Firefighters arrived within four minutes and found flames coming from the room, department spokesperson and firefighter Joe Hudson said.

The fire was brought under control in about 20 minutes.

Two people had been in the fire-affected room. The other person was uninjured, Scarpelli said.

Scarpelli said the facility did not have a sprinkler fire suppression system.

Multiple rooms were affected, but Hudson said no one needed displacement assistance, as residents could move to other rooms.

The fire caused an estimated $126,000 worth of damage between the property and lost contents, according to Scarpelli.