Escondido woman under arrest after two-alarm fire burns through motel

ESCONDIDO (KUSI) – A two-alarm fire at an Escondido motel early Friday displaced about 20 guests and left the occupant of the room in which it started facing drug charges and a second person sought by police.

According to Escondido police and fire officials, someone flagged down a police officer shortly after fire broke out at the Hacienda Motel on North Broadway near East Mission Avenue. Police officers began evacuating occupants shortly after midnight as firefighters were en route.

Fire crews arriving to the two-story motel saw flames from a fully involved second floor unit spreading to a neighboring room, according to Battalion Chief Mike Bertrand of the Escondido Fire Department. 

Bertrand said firefighters from Escondido and San Marcos had the blaze under control in about 40 minutes and kept it contained to the two rooms. 

The fire was deemed suspicious. Investigators looking into the cause of the fire contacted the 33-year-old occupant of the room in which the fire started — identified as Treasure Rosemary Pluma of Escondido — and placed her under arrest after it was suspected she was under the influence of drugs, Escondido police Lt. Eric Skaja said.

Authorities also sought a man seen inside the same room attempting to extinguish the flames because he may have information pertinent to their investigation, Skaja said. A description of the man was not available.

Skaja said no arson charges had been filed by mid-morning, but the investigation was ongoing.

A police officer and an occupant suffered minor smoke inhalation and were treated at the scene, according to the battalion chief. The American Red Cross was summoned to assist the about 20 motel guests left displaced after the fire.

The fire’s cause remained under investigation and a financial estimate of the damage was not immediately available.

Anyone with additional information regarding the fire was asked to call Escondido police Detective Vander Vorst at (760) 839-4786.

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