Man found dead in mysterious motel room fire



KENT, Wash. -  


A man was found dead inside an extended-stay motel room in Kent after fire ripped through several units.


Investigators said the fire at the Sunset Motel at 25006 Pacific Highway South in Kent started around 7 a.m. Tuesday, gutting one room and damaging four others.


LaKiva Herndon said she was getting ready for school when the fire broke out in the room a few doors down.


"Someone was actually banging on the neighbor's door, and since the walls are pretty close together, that's (when) I told my honey, 'Get up, it's time to go, we’ve got to get out of here,' and he opened up the door and saw all the fire and smoke.  So, we just got our stuff, as much as we could, and got out of our unit,” said Herndon.


Once the fire and smoke cleared, firefighters found a man dead inside the room where the fire started.


Police said the man in his 50s who was registered to the room had been living there for at least a few months, but it has not been confirmed if that man is the one who died in the fire.


Investigators also haven't confirmed whether the man found inside died from the fire or another cause.


"(We’ll) see if there are any obvious injuries or wounds, any evidence of homicidal violence or anything else that might contribute to that death,” said Pat Lowery with the Kent Police Department.


People who have been staying at the motel for a while said they believe the man may have committed suicide and he routinely called police.


"I've already heard three different stories about him trying to kill himself almost a week or two weeks apart.  Every time he comes out, he's trying to kill himself,” said Herndon.


Investigators aren't speculating whether the fire was intentionally set.


The medical examiner will determine the man’s identity and cause of death.