Apr 6, 2013 11:52 PM by Morgan Frances - MFrances@kristv.com
CORPUS CHRISTI - A fire swept through the Gulf Way Motel on Leopard St. late last night causing everyone staying there to evacuate. "I could feel some heat like something was going on outside," said Gene Schreppel.
He described the first moment he realized the motel he lived in for two years suddenly caught fire. he said he heard all the commotion outside and decided to see what was going on.
"I heard people yelling 'fire,'" he said, "and I looked over at that section back there and I saw flames comin' out and I said...I better get out of here.
Heavy smoke and flames quickly filled one of the rooms while the people staying in other rooms rushed to see if someone was inside.
"We beat on the door," said Jesse Twist who was staying at the motel. "Nobody answered. No nothin' so we called the fire department."
The fire department came within minutes Twist said but they ran into a problem; their fire trucks were too tall for the short canopy. Thanks to a pre-planned strategy, however, the firefighters knew the access problem before they even got there.
Battalion Fire Chief Kenneth Erben said, "they pre-planned what they would do and they and done one for this property, recognized the access problem ahead of time and executed the plan and it worked great."
Crews extinguished the fire within no time and, thankfully, no one was inside. Gulf Way Motel employees said only that one room remained closed today. Hotel staff says the man staying in the room that burned checked out of the motel.