New details in Hoover motel fire

HOOVER, AL (WBRC) - Fire investigators revealed new information Thursday afternoon into the fire that killed four college students staying at a Hoover motel Saturday night.

Investigators held a news conference Thursday afternoon where they said they had determined the fire started in a room in the bottom level of the motel where a maintenance man was staying.  Investigators said the man, identified as Dhirajlal Bhagat, 55, from India, tried to put out the fire, but could not.

Investigators said they do not yet know what caused the fire. They added they do not believe Bhagat was in the room when the fire started, but did say he was being held in the Hoover jail on unrelated immigration charges. They said he had lived and worked at the motel for several years, but had recently lost his work permit and was arrested after the fire by immigration.

The fire, which broke out around 8 p.m. Saturday, killed four young women, all freshman at the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Mississippi.  Two of the women, Alondan Turner and Catherine Muse, were cousins from Walker County, graduates from Dora High School.  Their funeral is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Dora High School gymnasium.