74ºF

State fire marshal seeks person of interest in Kissimmee hotel fire

Unno Boutique hotel fire appears to be 'intentional'

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The blaze at a Kissimmee hotel that displaced hundreds days before the holiday weekend was intentional and authorities are looking for a person of interest, according to the state fire marshal's investigation.

Orlando officials with the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations are looking for a person of interest detectives said might have valuable information about the blaze.

Surveillance video obtained by WKMG-TV from the Unno Boutique Hotel captured a white man wearing gray shorts, a black long-sleeve top and a blue and red baseball hat.

Authorities are asking for the public's help in identifying the man.

"Initial findings reveal several mattresses outside the structure were ignited. At this point in time, the cause of the fire appears to be incendiary and intentional in nature," office of communications assistant Talia Piloto told News 6 in an email Tuesday morning.

Anyone with information about the man in the photos can call 1-877-No-Arson (662-7766).

The investigation revealed evidence that mattresses stored outside of the building were ignited, causing the fire to spread and travel between the hotel floors and to the roof, according to a Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations news release.

Osceola fire Chief Daniel McAvoy said Friday the fire started in an area of the hotel that wasn't occupied because it was under construction. The blaze spread through the hotel's attic to some occupied rooms, but no injuries were reported.

The investigation is still ongoing, according to the fire marshal.

The three-alarm fire displaced hundreds of people two days before Christmas. About 47 families are still homeless after the fire destroyed their belongings at Unno Boutique Hotel on Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, according to The Red Cross.

In just four days, people have raised more than $18,000 for the victims. The money will help house 47 families for a week at area hotels.

People can donate at Osceola.org, officials said.


About the Author: