JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – At least two people suffered severe burns Saturday when an Argyle Forest motel caught fire, the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department said.
Clay and Duval county firefighters were called to the Motel 6 on Youngerman Circle in the Argyle Forest shopping plaza about 7:45 a.m. after guests were awakened up by fire alarms, officials said.
Witnesses told News4Jax it was a gruesome scene before firefighters contained the fire. One witness said they saw two people running from a room with severe burns. Fire crews said there were a few other guests who were checked for smoke inhalation.
Dexter Griffin told News4Jax that he and his friends booked a room at the motel after getting into town late last night.
“I jumped up and looked out the window early morning and I didn't think it was much, so I laid back down,” Griffin said. “My cousin jumped up and was, like, ‘No. it's an actual fire.’ When he opened the door, that's when smoke started billowing into the room.”
Griffin said not knowing what could happen next was terrifying.
“It was very scary,” Griffin said. “A very shocking experience because you wake up and you see this on movies. It's, like, once you get smoke coming in your room, you don't know if the floor is going to cave in. You don't know what's going to happen next. You know what I mean? So, yeah, very shocking. Very traumatic way to wake up."
Fire officials said the fire was hot enough to put one of their trucks out of service and injure a few firefighters with slight burns.
Two people were taken to the hospital with third-degree burns to their face, hands and arms, officials said. A third person was also injured but not as severely.
“When I came outside, I saw this guy running and all of his skin was off of his face and his arms,” Gibson said. “It was just a scary situation. This was our first night in Jacksonville, and to witness that was very -- it was just very scary.”
After investigating, the state Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations said the fire was accidental.