Federal investigators have joined the investigation into last Wednesday’s fire at a Howard Johnson Inn on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
The fire burned through the roof of the three-story hotel, doing an estimated $4 million in damage. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms will help state and local officials determine the origin and cause of the fire, says Joel Lee, who leads the ATF’s Gulfport field office.
Four Jackson County fire departments responded to the blaze at the hotel, which is in the unincorporated St. Martin community north of Ocean Springs. The fire burned for more than three hours.
Officials said the fire spread because the older building lacked the fireproofing required by building codes in newer structures. Another fire damaged the hotel in 2010.