Fire Marshal rules arson as cause of Liberty motel fire - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

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Fire Marshal rules arson as cause of Liberty motel fire

Posted: Updated:
LIBERTY TWP, Ohio - The state Fire Marshal has ruled that a fire at a Liberty Township motel was a case of arson. 
That's according to township Fire Chief Gus Birch, who says four firefighters received medical treatment at the  scene of Wednesday's blaze at the former Budget Luxury Inn. Three suffered from heat exhaustion and the other injured his knee due to the unstable structure on the roof.

Firefighters from Liberty, Youngstown and Girard were called to the two story building at 1610 Motor Inn Drive just before 4:00 p.m. Wednesday. 

Crews arriving on the scene reported seeing smoke on the first floor of the building, which has been vacant for some time.

Firefighters were first advised not to go inside the structure because of concerns over the soundness of the structure. They later went inside to extinguish the flames.

"A lot of stuff was piled in there, furniture everything you can imagine was piled in there. Some of the structure is unsafe, so we had to be very careful with making entry into it. We don't want anyone getting hurt," said Birch.

A second alarm was called in at 4:30 p.m., and a ladder truck was dispatched from the Brookfield Fire Department.

Drivers on nearby Interstate 80 reported encountering heavy smoke from the fire.  Less than an hour after the first alarm, Liberty firefighters reported that the blaze was under control.

The fire department and county had been working to have the abandoned building torn down.

According to property records, the building first opened as the Budget Luxury Inn in 1990.  The most recent owner is listed as Girard Hospitality Limited Partnership, which purchased the motel in 2006. 
 
The property is valued at more than half a million dollars.  Chief Birch initially estimates damage at $50,000. 

This isn't the first time firefighters have been called out to the neighborhood. The motel is behind the former Liberty Metroplex which caught fire twice in March.
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