Man charged with arson after Thursday morning fire at Astoria Hotel in Danville

Southside Virginia News

DANVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — Authorities took a man into custody and charged him with arson after Danville first responders discovered a burning mattress and a fire in the bathtub at the Astoria Hotel North Thursday morning.

The Danville Fire Department says crews were dispatched to a report of a structure fire at 1030 Piney Forest Road at 6:25 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25.

When units arrived five minutes later, they found nothing showing from the large, two-story hotel. However, when the crew from the Piney Forest Road Fire Station investigated the scene, the department says they found light smoke coming from room 22 on the first floor.

Fire officials say first responders pulled a hand line and made entry into the room, where they discovered a mattress on fire and a fire in the bathtub.

Crews quickly knocked down the fire — bringing it under control by 6:43 a.m. — before establishing ventilation to remove the smoke from the room.

Even though the room was occupied, the department says nobody was inside the room at the time of the fire.

First responders managed to keep the fire contained to one room without any extension to other rooms in the hotel. However, fire officials say the room sustained moderate smoke and heat damage.

In addition, the Danville Life Saving Crew reportedly treated the occupant at the scene before the occupant was brought to SOVAH’s emergency room. 

The department says 16 fire personnel were on the scene for an hour and 26 minutes, receiving assistance from the Danville Life Saving Crew, Danville Electric Department, Danville Water and Gas Department, and Danville Police Department.  

The Fire Marshal’s Office investigated the cause of the fire and determined it was incendiary.

According to fire officials, Qwalon Montez Watlington is in custody and has been charged with arson.

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