Hot Springs Police: Someone started massive blaze at Majestic Hotel

HOT SPRINGS (KATV) -{}Arson now the main focus of an investigation into what caused the massive fire that engulfed the more than century old Majestic Hotel.

It's been a week since the Majestic{}Hotel{}went up in flames, and now Hot Springs police believe that someone started the fire on the fifth floor of the building.

For days now rumors have been circulating about the fire and what may have caused it.{}But authorities are confident that someone started that fire. Now the question is: Who was it and why?

"Hopefully we will be able to give people some answers," said Hot Springs Fire Chief Ed Davis.

And investigators have been diligently working on getting the answer to the burning question: Did someone start the fire that ultimately brought down the Majestic Hotel? Chief Davis is confident the answer is yes.

"We're looking at it more along the lines of an urban explorer. Maybe a homeless person. Someone that was a trespasser on the property," said Davis.

Davis says the fire likely started on the fifth floor of the building. That alone is already yielding some crucial information.

"Not the kind of place that someone who was intending to burn the building down would've started the fire. It's just a very, very poor place to do that," said Davis.

The owner of the hotel, Garrison Hassenflu, has been ruled out as a suspect but he may be facing some expensive consequences of his own.

"We anticipate that we are being reimbursed for the cost of putting this fire out you. You know we had lots of fire crews out here for days and huge expense," said Becca Clark, Hot Springs City Board member.

And while the city's attorneys work to get thousands in reimbursement for putting out the massive blaze and demolishing the building, police work to identify a culprit and his intentions.

"Obviously there was a human element that was involved in it, but you know, what the motivation of that human element are, we don't know," said Davis.

The more immediate problem for the city now is addressing environmental concerns coming from the site of the demolition. The City Board of Directors{}is meeting on{}March 18th to discuss some options of safe removal. The remainder of the hotel will also be condemned.