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2 arrested in connection with Berlin hotel fire

Published: Mar. 14, 2021 at 9:44 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 15, 2021 at 6:17 AM EDT
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BERLIN, Vt. (WCAX) - A woman is in the hospital after being critically injured in what police are calling a suspicious fire at the Hilltop Inn in Berlin.

Berlin police say either late Friday night or early Saturday morning, a fire ignited in a room, possibly by someone using an oxygen tank while smoking.

Police Chief James Pontbriand says no one at the hotel called authorities to report the fire, and it was hours before an ambulance was called to take the injured woman to the University of Vermont Medical Center.

Police say responding officers also found that the smoke detectors had been disconnected.

Police have charged Melissa Guptil, 32, for reckless endangerment and tampering with facilities. David Darnell, 39, also faces a reckless endangerment charge. Officials did not elaborate on the charges any further.

“I don’t know if there will be other charges down the road for other individuals. That’s still under investigation,” the chief said.

Pontbriand says one of the people charged was staying in and working at the hotel at the time of the fire.

Pontbriand says the fire was contained to one room and no one else was injured in the flames.

The Division of Fire Safety, Berlin Fire Department, and the Vermont State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit are involved in the investigation.

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