Two fires in proximity to each other severely damaged an industrial building and nearly left a motel in ruins Saturday morning.
The first blaze began in the southeast corner of a building at 5402 Moeller Road, which houses Hall Aluminum Products and other companies. Fort Wayne firefighters were called to the site at 4:52 a.m. and were met by heavy smoke and flames coming from the back.
Sixty city firefighters were at the scene, and one was taken to a hospital, treated and released after suffering minor injuries.
Firefighters from New Haven and Adams Township, Poe, Hoagland, Monroeville, St. Joseph Township and Northeast Allen County fire departments arrived to help.
So, too, did officers with the Fort Wayne Police Department and workers with the Three Rivers Ambulance Authority, City Utilities and American Electric Power.
One thing is for certain after watching this mornings activities, fire department spokesman Stacey Fleming wrote in an email Saturday. These types of incidents clearly illustrate how public safety, city/county utilities work together for the greater good of our community.
Fire crews aggressively attacked the fire from inside the building but were forced to evacuate by structural damage and a roof collapse, according to fire department officials.
It was unclear whether the fire began in Hall Aluminum Products or in another part of the building, according to fire officials. It took two hours to bring the fire under control, and its cause is under investigation.
There was little rest for New Haven firefighters, though, as they along with help from Fort Wayne firefighters battled a blaze a few miles away at a motel later in the morning.
They were called to the Motel Wayne at 7001 Indiana 930 E. about 8:15 a.m. The fire started in Room 11 and spread into the attic and throughout the building along the roofline, according to fire officials.
Charles Lehman, an investigator with the New Haven-Adams Township Fire Department, said the older motel had no firewalls in the attic – which is a requirement in newer motels.
An office and attached residence belonging to the owners of the motel also sustained heavy damage.
About 55 occupants of the motel were evacuated and cared for by the American Red Cross, which gave them temporary housing, according to fire officials. None needed medical care, and no firefighters, who worked for five hours, were injured.
The fire was ruled accidental, but the occupant of the room where it started has not been found. Investigators would like to speak to that person. There was no evidence of criminal activity, Lehman said.
The structure was not a total loss, but it sustained $225,000 in damage, according to Lehman.
Crews from Hoagland, St. Joseph Township and Woodburn also helped with the New Haven fire.