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One Dead, 21 Injured In Fire at Dallas Motel

August 13, 1996

DALLAS (AP) _ Fire raced through a wing of a budget motel early today, killing a 10-year-old girl and injuring at least 21 other people, some of whom leaped from second-story windows, authorities said.

The fire at the Budget Inn erupted at 12:20 a.m. and took nearly two hours to extinguish, officials said. The little girl, Christina Knighten, was taken to Methodist Medical Center but died later.

Many of the motel’s occupants had to escape by leaping from second-story windows, Fire Chief Dodd Miller said. Twenty-one people were treated at hospitals for injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to broken legs, he said.

``Everybody had to jump out windows,″ said a witness, Trent Young. ``We had to catch four people jumping out windows, including two babies and two women and another child.″

At least one resident, an 80-year-old woman, was admitted to a hospital. She was listed in fair condition.

Investigators were not able to immediately establish the cause of the fire, but said it may have started on the second floor.

Motel managers reported chasing off vagrants shortly before the fire, and residents said they saw two or three men running through a hall as the fire broke out.

``All I know is, I was trying to put the fire out and they were trying to chase down the guys who did it,″ said witness Apache Gollab. ``But I didn’t see the guys who did it.″

The motel is on the R.L. Thornton Freeway in the Oak Cliff section on the city’s south side.

Several of the guests, who appeared to be residents living at the motel, were taken to Red Cross shelters for the night, officials said.

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