LIBERTY, Ohio (WYTV) — The state fire marshal’s office has ruled arson in Saturday night’s vacant motel fire in Liberty.
Almost 24 hours after the fire was first reported, thick smoke could be seen in the air.
Little remains of the abandoned motel on Motor Inn Drive. A stair case is still in tact, as small fires still burned well into Sunday afternoon. It was not safe for fire crews to go inside hours later.
“We won’t go inside and fight abandoned fires like this. It’s too dangerous for the firefighters, and it’s not worth it,” said Liberty Township Fire Chief, Gus Birch.
Birch had been at the fire since it started around 6 p.m. Saturday.
“It was kind of hectic at first because of the volume of fire,” Birch said.
He said low water pressure in the area was an issue.
“Because of the water issue, we called for the Trumbull County East Side Water Shuttle, which brings multiple departments to tank water to us,” said Birch.
Several residents stopped by the scene after still being able to see smoke long into Sunday, but the fire department is discouraging them to do so because they are still considering it an active scene.
“Trying to keep the public out of here. We just don’t want anyone to get hurt,” said Birch.
Years ago, the motel was a Days Inn, then a Travel Lodge. It’s been a vacant eye-sore for years since. Fire crews were here for a fire a few months ago and that incident was ruled an arson.
Liberty Township Trustee, Jodi Stoyack, said she heard talk about someone wanting to buy the property.
“I was hopeful that it was going to be purchased by somebody in January and then made into a viable business,” said Stoyack.
Stoyak said there’s been some economic development on Motor Inn Drive and hopes something can be done with the motel property.