The Division of State Fire Marshal and the Truro Township Fire Department are continuing to investigate the cause of a three-alarm fire at a Brice Road hotel last week.

The Division of State Fire Marshal and the Truro Township Fire Department are continuing to investigate the cause of a three-alarm fire at a Brice Road hotel last week.

Andy Weber, Truro Township's assistant fire chief, said damage to the Days Inn & Suites, 2100 Brice Road, was extensive.

"The fire traveled through the attic, which is where the bulk of the fire was," he said. "I would think damages would be estimated at more than $1 million."

Fire Chief Jeff Sharps was out of state at the time of the blaze, but he said township fire-prevention officers would work with the State Fire Marshal's Office to determine where the fire started and its cause.

"After our investigator arrived on the scene and assessed the situation, he elected to call in state investigators to assist, so the investigation is a joint effort," Sharps said.

"The investigators have hours of video surveillance to look through, but it appears to be accidental," Weber said.

Weber said the fire was reported at 7:39 p.m. Aug. 9 in a 911 call from the hotel and by a Reynoldsburg police officer who saw smoke while driving on Brice Road. Truro firefighters were on the scene by 7:41 p.m.

"When they arrived, the front overhang of the hotel had some smoke coming off the top and there was light smoke in the second-floor area of the lobby," Weber said. "Reynoldsburg officers had already pulled the fire alarm and gone into areas they could reach to knock on doors, so some people had evacuated, but others ignored the alarm.

"People should evacuate when they hear a fire alarm."

After the building was empty, the fire escalated, he said.

"Conditions changed quickly, with heavier smoke inside and flames coming from the roof and front lobby portion," Weber said. "We had called for a second alarm on arrival to get more resources, but soon called for a third alarm.

"We suddenly had high heat and heavy smoke inside and outside, so we actually pulled crews out and went defensive," he said. "Shortly after the crews came out there was a significant collapse of the front overhang, which buried two of the hose lines. Fortunately, we didn't have anyone standing under it at the time."

He said more than 100 firefighters eventually helped battle the blaze, coming from Violet, Jefferson, Mifflin and Madison townships, along with crews from the West Licking Joint Fire District, the Columbus Division of Fire and the Whitehall Division of Fire.

"At the height of the fire, we had ... 41 apparatus on the scene," Weber said.

He said one firefighter from Columbus was overcome with heat exhaustion and transported to a local hospital, but no other injuries were reported.

Besides the crews fighting the fire, other departments "moved up" to Reynoldsburg to be available, if needed, to handle other emergencies.

"We had a fire engine from Westerville at our Livingston Avenue fire station and paramedics from Plain Township, just in case anything else happened in the city, like another fire or an EMS run that we couldn't cover," Weber said.

The hotel fire was declared under control at 9 p.m. Aug. 9, but Truro Township personnel and some firefighters remained on the scene until 11:27 a.m. the next day, Aug. 10.

"We were there all night because hot spots kept flaring up and we wanted to make sure no one entered the structure," Weber said. "We also did what we could to help guests get their belongings out of the hotel all night long."

Most of the guests were transported by a COTA bus and given vouchers to help pay for other hotels by the American Red Cross.

"The Red Cross did an outstanding job for us," Weber said. "They had a COTA bus there and were out talking to people and keeping them together."

Weber said "live burnout" training paid off for firefighters.

"We regularly do live burnouts with Violet and West Licking at the fire academy," he said.

"This incident was a large one, so we relied on our incident command system to break it up in pieces, sending crews to different parts of the building."

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