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Deadly fire that killed 4 in Newport motel started by improperly discarded cigarette

Newport motel fire photo by Dustin Capri courtesy NewsLincolnCounty.com -- Rebecca Sinclair mugshot via Lincoln County

Officials say a fire that killed four people and injured several others last summer in Newport was started by improperly discarded smoking materials.

Police were called to the City Center Motel on SW Coast Highway around 5:50 a.m. on Aug. 5, 2016 for a large fire which was spreading quickly.

Four people were hospitalized with burns and smoke inhalation, and crews found the bodies of four other people in the rubble. They were identified as Tammi Sue Hepner, 51; Allen Arthur Hepner, 63; Sandra Sue Shoemaker. 60; and Danny Keith Shoemaker, 64.

One of the injured guests was identified as Rebecca Joanne Sinclair, who had improperly disposed of smoking materials in her ground floor room, and that's what led to the fire.

She was arrested and charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, reckless burning and recklessly endangering. she's being held on a $750,000 bond at Lincoln County Jail.

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