Posted: Jan 31, 2013 5:13 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A three-alarm fire heavily damaged several rooms of a Super 8 motel in Oklahoma City early Thursday, but there were no serious injuries and guests safely evacuated, authorities said.
Fire Chief Marc Woodard told The Associated Press that more than 50 firefighters battled the blaze from the first call just before 3 a.m. Thursday, adding lodgers had left on their own once the fire began at the motel on an Interstate 35 service road.
He said the motel, with several dozen rooms, appeared about half full at the time.
Woodard says the fire appeared suspicious but he declined to elaborate, saying he didn't want to compromise the investigation of fire officials who had gone to the site after the fire was put out.
"It does appear to be suspicious," Woodard told AP.
The fire gutted two upstairs guest rooms and a storage area on the south side of the two-story motel that has both north and south sides, according to the fire chief. He said two ground-level rooms just below the gutted upper rooms had major smoke damage.
Woodard said firefighters spent about a half hour knocking down the flames and had to work around relatively low water pressure in a district supplied by a water tower - not a main.
"We had some low water pressure ... so we called in extra personnel to bring water tankers in," said Woodard, explaining why the call went to three alarms.
The fire chief said winds carried the smoke from the sizable fire away from the interstate and there was no problems with visibility for passing motorists.
Another Oklahoma City fire official, Brian Stanaland, told AP he saw the fire while driving along the interstate to work before dawn. "The smoke went pretty much straight up in the air. We didn't have a lot of wind blowing, said Stanaland. "It was a big fire."
A motel spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.
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