LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKBN) – A Liberty motel was damaged in a fire early Thursday. Now, investigators are working to figure out how it started.

Multiple departments were called about 4:45 a.m. to Rodeway Inn on Belmont Avenue.

911 caller: “There’s a big fire. This is a fire.”
Dispatcher: “Can you actually see the flames?”
9111 Caller: “Yeah, I just seen the flames.”

Pamela Myers was one of about 70 people staying at the Rodeway Inn last night.

“The fire started way back there, and they told everybody that they had to leave,” she said.

Crews from six fire departments responded to the fire and were able to quickly put it out, but fire officials say there was an extensive amount of smoke.

Liberty Township Fire Chief Dougls Theobald said the fire appears to have started in Room 136, but the room was not rented out at the time of the fire.

Theobald said the motel will be closed until it’s repaired and inspected. Disaster recovery crews worked to board up rooms Thursday afternoon while volunteers with the American Red Cross were helping people who were staying there.

“What the Red Cross doe in times like this is we help with their immediate needs and those are food, shelter and clothing,” said Kristen Gallagher, a spokesperson for American Red Cross. “We are just assisting residents who not going to be able to return to the rooms where they were saying long-term.”

At this point, it’s unknown how the fire started, but investigators with the state fire marshal’s office and Liberty’s fire investigator are looking into it.

“It’s under investigation as look at it. The room was empty, so there shouldn’t have been any cause for folks being in there, but we are interviewing folks and looking at information that’s available to us,” Theobald said.