LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKBN) – The Ohio state fire marshal has ruled a motel fire Wednesday afternoon an arson, according to the Liberty Fire Department.
Someone called 911 just before 4 p.m. to report smoke coming from what they thought was the Rodeway Inn, which formerly was the Holiday Inn Metroplex on Belmont Avenue. That hotel caught fire twice in March and eventually closed.
However, when fire crews arrived on scene, they realized the smoke was coming from a vacant motel behind the Rodeway Inn. Firefighters said the former Quality Inn at 1620 Motor Inn Drive, which was a Travelodge when it closed, already was in bad shape before it was set on fire, so no damage estimate was available.
A Liberty fire captain said the exact cause and origin of the fire is unknown, but the fire marshal ruled it an arson. The captain said the motel has been closed “for a long time,” possibly as long as a decade.
The fire captain said because the building was in such disrepair, firefighters doused the flames from outside until the blaze was almost extinguished and then they went inside to put out hot spots.
Several firefighters suffered minor injuries, including a knee injury and heat exhaustion, but neither required transport to the hospital.
The fire department said they are still trying to determine who owns the building.
Liberty crews were assisted by firefighters from Youngstown, Girard, Brookfield and the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.