Some 10 people, including three guests, were forced to flee the 400-year-old grade II-listed George Hotel after the fire started at 3.40am as they were alerted by smoke alarms.
It started in a storage room on the top floor and spread to the roof space, damaging the oldest section of the 17th century hotel in Ramsey, Cambs.
Her real identity is unknown but Mrs Axelsen's family, who run the hotel, call her Mary and believe she is a former landlady.
"It is strange that the fire was contained to that one room and did not spread," she said. "Also nothing electrical is plugged in up there as it is only used for storage.
"It is at the back of my mind that it could have been something more but Mary would never hurt us and she hates fire.
"She died of smoke inhalation so she wouldn't have wanted another fire.
"Mary hates fire so much she steals people~s lighters and blows out candles.~
Her daughter Louise Axelsen, 29, the hotel manager, said: "We do not mind Mary, you get used to having her around.
"If you work here, then you are aware that you are also working with ghosts."
A Cambridgeshire fire brigade spokesman said the blaze, which has forced the historic George to close one of its restaurants, was sparked by an electrical fault.
Mrs Axelsen's son Carl, 19, tackled the blaze with a fire extinguisher but was taken to Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon, for smoke inhalation.
"I'm not a brave person, but the adrenalin just kicked in and all I could think about was saving my home and my family's business," he said.