Staff Photo: Jason Braverman
Just before 7 a.m., fire crews found heavy smoke pushing out of a window on the second level of the Studio Plus hotel in Norcross.
NORCROSS — A Norcross man was pulled from a fire in his extended stay hotel room Wednesday morning, then promptly slapped with drug and reckless endangerment charges.
Gwinnett County firefighters responded to the Studio Plus extended stay hotel on Jimmy Carter Boulevard just after 7 a.m. Wednesday. After kicking down the door to his second-floor room, they found 30-year-old Julius Duke unconscious and dragged him outside, spokesman Lt. Eric Eberly said.
The rest of the hotel, roughly 60 to 80 people, was evacuated as well. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the blaze, which caused only minor damage to the kitchen in Duke’s room. The fire is believed to be caused by food he left burning on the stove.
While Duke, who refused transportation to the hospital at the scene, was rescued from the hotel, he now has other problems.
Duke was found to be in possession of “a small amount of suspected cocaine” and placed under arrest at the scene, Gwinnett County police spokesman Det. J.R. Flanagan said. That discovery ultimately led to the fire department filing reckless endangerment charges as well.
“Drugs and possibly alcohol led to him not being able to respond (once the fire started),” Eberly said. “The food he started to cook caught fire, putting everyone in the building in danger.”
Gwinnett County Jail records show Wednesday’s arrest was Duke’s tenth since 2000. Previous arrests were on charges ranging from cocaine possession, obstruction of a law enforcement officer and failure to appear.
As of Wednesday evening, Duke had not posted $7,000 bond.
Jail records list his address as that of the hotel.