Authorities Believe Hotel Fire to be Arson, Sprinklers Save

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hotel fire sprinklersThree dozen people evacuated a Holiday Inn when a fire erupted.  Luckily, the fire was contained to a single room by the hotel's fire sprinklers.

Joshua Berney, 33, called police at 3:45am, but he never told dispatchers what was wrong.  He sounded upset, so officers went to the hotel and knocked on his room door.  He refused to open the door.  As the police officers stood in front of the door, the fire alarm began to sound.

Officers got a key from the front desk and opened Berney's room.  Berney was standing there and his room was filling with smoke.

Officer Katie Flood said he seemed to be hallucinating.

Firefighters arrived and faced heavy smoke in the hallway and room.  They were able to extinguish it in the room of origin.

The damage was at least $150k.  The damage was in part from water damage.  Berney turned on the tub and sink and it overflowed, causing damage.

The room's fire sprinklers kept the fire contained until firefighters could extinguish it.

"If the sprinkler system had not activated, the fire would've gotten out of control.  It did its job," said investigator Chuck Schweitzer.

Joshua Berney is in jail on suspicion of first-degree murder.