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Fire in motel leads to child endangerment arrest

February 17, 2002|By MARIO RENTERIA, Staff Writer

Fire in motel eaA fire that burned a room in the Budget Lodge Motel in El Centro late last week led to the arrests of two people on suspicion of a separate offense.

The fire began about noon Thursday, forcing fire crews and police officers to evacuate the motel. The room in which two people were staying with their 5-month-old child was found by police to contain drug paraphernalia and was deemed dirty enough by the officers that they arrested the two on suspicion of child endangerment, police said.

Police Detective Guillermo Molina said Ernesto Medina, 26, and Valerie Nicole Romero, 26, were arrested and as of Friday were being held at the county jail with bail set at $35,000 each.

The baby was taken to the Betty Jo McNeece Receiving Home, the county's home for abused, abandoned and neglected children. The fire was under investigation as of Friday.

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>> Staff Writer Mario Renteria can be reached at 337-3441.

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