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Massive fire that destroyed Motel 6 in Commerce ruled accidental

Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 10:03 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2022 at 4:32 PM EDT
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COMMERCE Ga. (CBS46) - A massive fire destroyed the Motel 6 in Commerce on Monday.

Officials say at 6:26 p.m., units from Banks County Fire and Emergency Services responded to the Motel 6, located at 128 Frontage Road, on a reported structure fire and found a two-story occupied motel with heavy smoke showing from multiple areas of the second floor and roof.

Banks County Fire says after the initial attack of the interior fire, a smoke explosion occurred requiring a complete evacuation of the building. A motel staff member told CBS46 News that they were able to evacuate roughly 15 occupants when they first discovered the smoke coming from the laundry room.

The building sustained heavy damage to the second floor and roof area. The remainder of the building had water and smoke damage.

Two Banks County Fire personnel were transported by ambulance to Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital with fatigue and heat exhaustion and have since been released.

Firefighters tell CBS46 that this is the largest fire in the region in over 20 years and over 20 agencies responded to help battle the blaze, according to April Turner-Evans with the Banks County Fire Department. Assistance came from Commerce Fire Department, multiple stations from Franklin County Fire Departments, Habersham Fire and Emergency Services, Cornelia Fire Department, Baldwin Fire Department, and LACI Fire Department. The city of Homer Fire Department helped maintain responses in the Banks County area during this operation.

Approximately 30 people staying at the motel were relocated to area motels to accommodate their needs.

April Turner-Evans with the Banks County Fire Department said the motel is a total loss.

The incident is under investigation by the Banks County Fire and Emergency Services along with the Georgia State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Banks County Arson Investigations, The State Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Investigation Unit for the Insurance Company have all met several times following the fire and released the following statement on June 22:

“We completely ruled out Arson, Cooking, or illegal Drug manufacturing as a cause to the devastating fire incident. The origin of the fire was in a void space between the rooms, near the attic space, where wiring and plumbing was located. The vent fan and electrical wiring in that area could not be ruled out as the cause of the fire. It is listed as an accidental fire.”

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