VIDEO: Man confesses to starting fire at Spartanburg Co. Motel


SPARTANBURG COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – The stay for residents at an area motel is getting cut short as the property is set to be updated and renovated.

More than 70 families were notified that they had to vacate Southern Suites in two weeks due to the upgrades. Some of those families we learned have been at the the motel for weeks, some even months, paying nearly $230 a week.

Management did say that those who need to stay a little longer can do so, but the people who live there told us that finding a new place to live in 14 days isn’t enough time.

Many of the residents told us that they are trying to see what their rights are in regards to this matter.

“The notice that has to be given has to correspond to the rental period,” Attorney Ken Anthony said. “So, if you pay every month, you need 30 days notice. If you pay rent every week, then you only get a weeks notice.”

On Tuesday, our cameras captured Westview Fairforest Fire Department crews responding to a fire at Southern Suites.

According to Fire Chief Scott Garrett, the fire happened shortly after 5 p.m. at the motel, located at 1993 Reidville Road.

Garrett said no one was injured in the fire, but said five units were damaged by water and smoke.  

Of the five rooms damaged, four of the units were occupied.

Fire officials are currently investigating the incident at this time.

A resident of Southern Suites, Terrance Dawkins, approached our 7News crew at the scene and confessed to starting the fire.

“You want this place you can have it. So I burned it,” said Dawkins. “I’m not gonna lie to you. That’s my story.”

Dawkins said he was angry because of the way he was treated and only wanted extra time to find another place to live.

Dawkins was arrested and charged with second-degree arson. He was also cited for trespassing after notice.

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