Fire officials on Tuesday said homeless people trying to stay warm might have sparked a huge overnight blaze that gutted a vacant south Fulton County motel.
The fire was reported shortly before 1:30 a.m. at the former InHome Suites extended stay motel on Interchange Drive off Fulton Industrial Boulevard, just across Martin Luther King Jr. Drive from Fulton County Airport-Brown Field.
Fulton fire Deputy Chief Jack Butler told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the two-story, wood-frame motel had been vacant for about two years. The motel’s two buildings had “no power and no gas,” he said.
Butler said that when firefighters arrived, the buildings were about 50 to 70 percent consumed by flames.
“With that much involvement, it’s just trying to keep it contained,” Butler said. “It was all wood, so it had plenty of fuel.”
While the cause of the fire hadn’t been determined, Butler speculated that it was “probably vagrants keeping warm, something like that.”
“This is an area where you do have some homeless people,” Butler said. “It’s cold, and people are going to find a way to try to stay warm.”
He said that even though the motel was boarded up, “if there’s a way for people to get in, they will.”
Butler said firefighters had found no victims in the rubble.
“We’ll talk with some of the homeless people in the area to make sure there is nobody that’s missing, but as far as we know, there was nobody in there,” he said.
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