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Murder Charges Brought After Motel Fire

Murder charges have been filed against Debra A. Thomas, 39, of no fixed address, in the death of a man whose body was discovered at the scene of a motel fire early last Saturday morning.

According to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, units from the Penn Daw and Mount Vernon stations responded, with assistance from Alexandria Fire Department, to a call at the Value Inns of America Motel, 6601 Richmond Highway, at 6 a.m.

"The fire was out within five or six minutes because the site is near Station 11, Penn Daw," said Lieutenant Mark Stone, fire department community relations official. The fire was contained to Room 132. "However, it did encroach upon an adjoining room, probably through vents in the ceiling since most of the damage to that room was in the ceiling area," he explained.

The identity, approximate age, and exact cause of death of the victim remain undetermined pending results of an autopsy, according to a release from Fairfax County Police. Origin of the fire and motive are still under investigation, police said.