Middle school teacher killed in Greenville hotel explosion

03/04/2014 2:59 PM

03/14/2015 7:01 AM

A Travelers Rest woman who was a teacher at Berea Middle School has been identified as the person killed in a fire at the Quality Inn on South Pleasantburg Drive early Monday morning, the coroner said.

Laurie Patton, 39, of 12 South Poinsett Highway, was identified through dental records after an autopsy on Tuesday, said Greenville County Coroner Parks Evans.

“Laurie Patton was an amazing person and inspiring teacher and friend who cared so deeply about her students, their families, and fellow teachers and school staff,” said Principal Robin Mill. “Our Berea Middle School community is devastated by her loss. We will continue to pray for her family as we work through our own grief.”

Patton was found dead in a room at the Quality Inn on South Pleasantburg Drive in Greenville. She was badly burned over her whole body, Evans said.

She had been a special education resource teacher at Berea Middle School since August of 2005, according to the school district.

“Mrs. Patton was a talented teacher who had a positive impact on many students and staff,” said Superintendent W. Burke Royster. “She will be greatly missed by the Berea Middle School family. Our prayers and thoughts are with Mrs. Patton’s family and the school community as they deal with this tragic loss.”

Additional counselors are on the school campus meeting with students and staff.

Authorities from Greenville County are questioning a man arrested in Banks County, Ga., on Monday on unrelated charges in connection with the death.

The man was driving a vehicle that matched the description of a vehicle linked to the Patton’s death, said Lt. Ty Miller, of the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.

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