YORK COUNTY, Va. – Fire marshals are attempting to identify a suspect in a hotel surveillance video. They think he may be responsible for lighting a conference room on fire at the Ramada Hotel in York County.
News 3 exclusively obtained the surveillance video.
In the video, you can see a man wearing a mask, jacket and gloves enter through a side door of the hotel, just before 4 a.m. Friday.
The suspect is carrying something in his right hand, and makes his way up to the second floor.
A few minutes later, flames and smoke are seen coming from a conference room.
“We put a lot of work into this property. It was closed three years ago, and we took it over,” said the hotel operator Bruce Armstrong. “This set back is heartbreaking.”
Investigators say there were multiple points of origin where fires were started inside the conference room.
Based on the surveillance video, investigators also think the suspect was familiar with the property.
Armstrong says he recently had to let seasonal workers go with the oncoming winter season.
“There are a number of people that were upset of being cutback. It could be a former employee,” said Armstrong. “I wish I could give everybody jobs all year long, but I just can’t.”
Officials say the fire was contained quickly, but most of the damage came from a sprinkler system that was triggered by flames and smoke. While investigator work to find the suspect, Armstrong works to rebuild his business.
“It really just gets you down in your gut,” Armstrong told News 3.
The hotel is still open. Armstrong is asking local patrons to stop by the restaurant or bar tonight to show their support.
If you know who set the hotel on fire, take action and call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.
The Crime Line is totally anonymous. If your tip leads to an arrest, you could get up to $1,000 cash.