8 arrested after fire displaces families at troubled Osceola County motel
Witnesses say residents got into altercation with officers at Lake Cecile Inn & Suites
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – A fire broke out early Tuesday at a troubled Osceola County extended-stay motel, leading to the arrests of eight people, deputies said.
The fire was reported at 5:11 a.m. at the Lake Cecile Inn & Suites on W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway near Kissimmee.
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were called to the motel and found a room fully engulfed in flames.
Deputies created a safety zone as they attempted to get people safely out of the rooms, but several residents resisted, sheriff’s officials said.
“As fire department engines arrived, the crowd was resistant toward their arrival and their ability to set up to put out the fire,” Major Jacob Ruiz said with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office said.
Eight people were arrested, seven of whom face charges of resisting arrest and battery. Victor Manuel Rosa, 44, was arrested on charges of arson and burglary, records show.
“We had eight arrests and made one arrest for arson and burglary and the other charges for the seven arrests have to do with battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest and inciting a riot,” Ruiz said.
Tina Conley says she owns the business at the motel and agrees it's tough for many residents to find affordable housing nearby.
“It’s really hard for them to go out and find something because the cost of living is ridiculous,” Tina Conley said.
She’s working with the Red Cross to help residents transition to a motel next door.
"They either have to have a payment agreement with me or they have to have a payment to me by a certain time," said Conley.
There’s a court hearing on Feb. 4 where the owners must show up and answer the next steps about this property.
Three of the suspects, including a woman who is five-months pregnant, were taken to a hospital to be checked out, officials said.
Twenty-two families live at the motel, and five of them have been displaced, deputies said. Those residents were taken to a nearby motel.
“It was chaotic. It was a big fire and literally when they started the fire that was somebody’s room. They could’ve died,” witness Roman Rios said.
The motel has been dealing with water and power issues for months because of unpaid bills.
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