[UPDATE] Tallahassee Man Dies in Mexico Beach Hotel Fire

By: Amber Southard, WJHG; Jill Chandler; Julie Montanaro Email
By: Amber Southard, WJHG; Jill Chandler; Julie Montanaro Email

UPDATE 3.7.2012 by Julie Montanaro

The state fire marshal's office released a report today in the death of FSU I-T employee Rodney Evans.

Evans died in a fire at the El Governor motel in Mexico Beach in April 2011.

Investigators have ruled the fire an accident and say it could have been caused by an electrical problem with a lamp or by a smoking pipe found near the bed.

The report says Evans died of smoke inhalation and his body was found just inside the motel room door.

Investigators say they found a box with "a fairly large amount of what appeared to be marijuana" in the room and the medical examiner indicated Evans had marijuana in his system when he died.

The report also quotes a tourist who said Evans came out on his balcony and more and more "black smoke" was coming out of the doorway. People on the beach were telling Evans to climb over the second floor balcony, she said, but he turned around and went back inside.

Tallahassee, Florida- April 19, 2011 5:22pm -

Thanks to viewer comments, we now know Rodney Evans who died in a hotel fire in Mexico Beach was an FSU employee.

Evans' coworkers say he was a great person who worked hard, and loved his two sons.

Those in the IT world at Florida State, say it isn't the same without him there, and going to work this week is not easy for those who have worked with Rodney Evans for years.

Vic Parramore is a friend and coworker of Evans'. He describes how it feels with him gone and said, "Heartbreak ... seeing a closed door. It's tough because you know we've been working together for so long."

Evans has worked in the IT department at FSU since 1995.

"He knew his job and he did it well," Parramore said.

The 53-year-old died Sunday morning in a hotel fire at the El Governor's motel in Mexico Beach, Florida. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

The Florida State Fire Marshal office says the department is not releasing where the fire started or what it started from at this time, but preliminary reports show Evans died from smoke inhalation.

Authorities are still investigating the case. Evans grew up in the area, and is survived by his two boys.

Parramore described Evans saying "He was a friend to everybody ... he would do most anything for you ... he was a caring person."

WCTV spoke with the Chief of Mexico Beach police earlier this evening. He said that as of now, his department has not found any negligence on the part of the hotel in Rodney Evans' death. However, they are still investigating.

We expect more details surrounding Evans's death to come out in the next few days.
Tallahassee, Florida - April 19, 2011-

WCTV has confirmed 53-year-old Rodney Evans was a FSU employee since 1995. Authorities are still investigating the cause of the fire, and where it originated.


Mexico Beach, Florida - April 18, 2011 -

Authorities in Mexico Beach are investigating a hotel fire that killed one person. Around 11:30 Sunday morning, authorities responded to a fire at the El Governor Hotel on Highway 98.

53-year-old Rodney Evans of Tallahassee was inside the second floor room that exploded and caught fire, and he was pronounced dead on scene by first responders. "We arrived on scene, we put the fire out, and an individual was located inside. It was determined he was the sole person in the room," said Brad Hall, Chief of Public Safety.

Local resident Jack Model was on the scene, and he says witnesses saw the victim alive just moments before an explosion. "Somebody told me that they were on the beach and they saw the guy come out onto his terrace and there was just a little bit of smoke coming out. He went back into the room and there was an explosion that blew the rear window out, and that's when all the black smoke started to come out. And they never saw the guy again."

The medical examiner's office, Florida State Fire Marshall and Mexico Beach authorities are still investigating. At this time, they do not know what caused the fire, or where it started. It took fire crews about 20 minutes to knock out the fire that completely destroyed one room. Surrounding rooms suffered water and smoke damage.

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