Dozen displaced after Sieta Motel fire

Published On: Apr 28 2014 04:05:27 AM EDT   Updated On: Apr 28 2014 12:37:08 PM EDT

More than a dozen people are without a home. They were living at the Siesta Motel in East Palatka.


About a dozen people are without a place to stay after a fire broke out at a motel in East Palatka Sunday night, according to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.

Putnam County Fire Rescue responded to the Siesta Motel on South U.S. Hwy. 17 around 11:30 p.m. Sunday.

Billie Jo Pyles said she had been living at the motel with her husband for about a year to help ends meet and and now they lost everything.

She also said about a dozen other people call the motel home and were affected by the fire.

"We were downstairs and I heard an alarm... I smelled something funny so I went outside and seen smoke," said Pyles. "I ran in the room and my husband was sleeping. I screamed at him to get up. I grabbed the bird while I tried to grab the dogs. I have three dogs. One I got out of the house quick, the other wouldn't come out, one got under the bed. We finally got all mine out."

IMAGES: Siesta Motel damaged by fire

Pyles also went back into the motel to help get her neighbors and their pets out.

"My neighbor, she wasn't home, she was at work with her husband. Their two dogs were in their room so I broke in their room and got their dogs out. I ran to the next room and got the old man out. I got everybody up here and was calling 911 in the middle of all this. We got them all here and the room was on fire there," said Pyles.

Pyles said she's complained several times about the drug activity at the motel and said what she smelled during the fire was all to familiar.

"I know I've complained about the drugs and the stuff that goes on here. I've smelled meth here before. Police have come because of the meth smell before," said Pyles.

The cause of the fire is unknown at the time and the State Fire Marshal is investigating.

Pyles said her room was directly below the room where, she believes, the fire started. She said she's devastated that she has lost everything.

"Everything I own is gone. It's damaged, nothing left. All my clothes. I saved my husband's, thank God, he has to work in about an hour. But all mine is gone," said Pyles. "We lost one cat. A cat died and my bird of 28 years died. Everybody else survived."

Pyles said the bird belonged to her son who passed when he was 21 years old. she said the bird was all she had left to remember him by.

Although she is devastated for everything she lost in the fire, she said she is glad everyone made it out safe. She said 16 people were currently staying at the motel.

"The owner came after it was put out. He did refund part of our money, what we haven't used, he did refund that and he's helping that way. I don't know what's going to happen next for him either because they have to tear this whole place down," said Pyles.

Although Pyles said her future is unknown right now, she is just thankful to be alive.

"I'm very thankful I was able to wake my husband up because he's not one to wake up. Everybody got up easy for me, so that's a good thing. I'm thankful to God for that one. He never gives us more than we can handle so we'll be okay," said Pyles.

Pyles said the Red Cross is assisting the victims of the fire. She said the organization has helped her find a place to stay for three days.


PHOTOS: Siesta Motel damaged by fire


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