By J.D. Miles

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FARMERS BRANCH (CBS11) – A Farmers Branch woman got a jaw-dropping bill from a local hotel and what happened to her could be a warning to others.

A few months ago, Rena Hobbs agreed to pay for a room at the Farmers Branch Super 8 hotel on Stemmons Freeway for a destitute relative who was in town for a night.

“When I took her to the hotel I used my credit card and signed for the room,” said Hobbs.

That decision came back to haunt Hobbs when her cousin apparently started a fire in bed with a lighter.

“There were sprinklers that went off and water everywhere,” said Hobbs.

Hobbs says the fire was ruled accidental.

She had forgotten about it until last week when she received a bill that took her breath away.

“It was a subrogation demand payment or something for $55,000,” said Hobbs.

The $55,000 bill was for unspecified damages.

The hotel didn’t appear to have undergone any recent major repairs when CBS11 News walked through it on Friday.

But because Hobbs’ name was on the room reservation, she’s being asked to pay.

“She’s not going to be ultimately responsible,” said Dallas lawyer Pete Schulte.

He said even though Hobbs signed a liability form at check in, she didn’t cause the fire and shouldn’t be accountable for a bill she says she can’t afford.

“It’s not like I have a money tree with $55,000 on in the backyard,” said Hobbs.

Hobbs filed a claim with her insurance company but it may not be approved because she wasn’t staying in the room.

CBS11 tried to talk to someone here at the hotel but they declined an interview.

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