May 24—About a half-dozen residents were displaced when an early morning fire on Monday gutted six guest rooms at the American Inn motel on U.S. 31 South in Decatur.
No one was injured in the blaze, according to Decatur Fire and Rescue officials and a motel employee.
Units 110 through 115 were charred from the fire that began about 2:20 a.m., according to Fire Department spokesman Lt. Patrick Jackson.
Jackson said fire stations 3, 5, 6 and 7 responded to the initial call.
"They were on the scene a couple of hours and called back out when the fire rekindled for about another 60 to 90 minutes," he said. "As far as volume, this is probably the largest fire we've had of this type."
Motel maintenance employee Adam Hill said all residents will be given refunds and were ordered to move out because the 20-unit complex had no electrical power.
"I'm trying to locate a generator this afternoon so some cleanup can begin," Hill said.
He said the fire began in Unit 111.
"We watched the video. It went from smoke to fire in about three minutes," he said. "Only two people were in those (six) rooms. They got out safely. In my 15 years working here, this has been the biggest disaster we've had. Otherwise, it's been pretty quiet."
An untouched fire extinguisher remained on the wall outside of room 112 Monday afternoon.
Hill's wife said it was heart-breaking to see the rooms go up in flames.
"It was hard to watch," Felicia Hill said.
Jackson said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
— firstname.lastname@example.org or 256-340-2442. Twitter @DD_Wetzel.