Authorities are now confirming the cause of the fatal fire in Vestal that claimed the life of the owner of the Skylark Motel.

Broome County Emergency Services officials say the two-alarm fire at 4:04 a.m. March 14 was the result of an electric space heater igniting combustibles that were located too close to the unit in the lobby area.

79 year old Dhansukh, “Dick” Patel died of smoke inhalation.  Patel was able to help his wife get out of their apartment over the office but was not able to escape himself.  One guest at the motel was treated for minor smoke inhalation.

The 60 year old motel is a total loss.