NEW HAVEN – Two Saturday morning fires within close proximity kept area firefighters hopping.
New Haven Adams Township firefighters were called to a fire at the Wayne Motel, 70001 State Road 930 E. at around 8:15 a.m. Saturday, shortly after assisting with a fire on Moeller Road at the Hall Aluminum Products plant.
Fifty-six occupants of the hotel were safely evacuated and have been offered temporary housing through the American Red Cross, said Charles Lehman, investigator for the New Haven Adams Township Fire Department.
There were no injuries, although at one point the fire department issued a mass alert ordering all firefighters to immediately vacate the building due to unsafe conditions.
Because the building is old, no firewalls were in place in the attic as required in newer hotels, Lehman said.
Once the fire got into the attic, it quickly spread throughout the building, along the roof line, Lehman said.
The person staying in the room where the fire is thought to have started has not been located.
The fire has been ruled accidental, but officials are trying to find and question the occupant in the ongoing investigation, Lehman said.
“There was no evidence of criminal activity,” he said.
The room of origin, office, roof, attic and an attached residence in the rear of the building were all “very heavily damaged” Lehman said.
The owners of the hotel lived in the adjoining residence.
While the structure was not a total loss, it did sustain heavy damage – about $225,000 worth, Lehman said.
Firefighters battled the blaze for five hours, Lehman said.
The New Haven Adams Township Fire Department was assisted by three Fort Wayne Fire Department units as well as crews from Hoagland and Woodburn.