Woman Who Caused City Center Fire Sentenced

On November 7, 2017, Rebecca Sinclair appeared at the Lincoln County Circuit Court to plead guilty and accept sentence. This case was filed after a fire that occurred on August 5, 2016, at the City Center Motel caused the death of 4 people and injured several more. Following an extensive and exhaustive investigation by the State Fire Marshall, Newport Fire Department, Newport Police Department, and independent experts, the cause of the fire was determined.
After months of evaluation of forensic evidence, fire experts concluded that the fire that started in Ms. Sinclair’s room was the result of dropping a lit cigarette on the bed. That evening, over the course of time, the fire ignited and spread inside Ms. Sinclair’s room. It was determined that intoxicants were not a factor in Ms. Sinclair’s delayed response to the fire. When Ms. Sinclair opened her hotel room to seek assistance, the fire spread quickly to the other hotel rooms. The fire destroyed the City Center Hotel, damaged vehicles parked in the parking lot, and caused other victims physical injury.
This fire killed the four occupants of the rooms directly above Ms. Sinclair’s hotel room. This case was resolved by a plea agreement between Ms. Sinclair, represented by Jonathan Cable, and the Lincoln County District Attorney’s office represented by Kenneth Park. Ms. Sinclair plead guilty to 4 counts of Criminally Negligent Homicide, 1 count of Reckless Burning, and 4 counts of Reckless Endangering of Another. Ms. Sinclair was sentenced to 45 months prison at the Department of Corrections. The State sought restitution for the hotel owner, victims who suffered property damage, and additional victims who suffered burns and losses associated with the deaths of the four homicide victims.