State and federal investigators ruled Wednesday that the motel fire in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, was arson.
Investigators spent most of the day combing through the remains of the Americana Motel in the downtown section of the beach town.
Local businessman and former state representative George Kerr said he bought the building several months ago with the intention of demolishing it to expand his parking lot next door. He said he recently donated all the furnishings inside to local charities and turned the building over to the fire department for training. Old Orchard's fire chief said within the last few weeks they went inside to plan for that training.
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"In the next month or so, sometime in February, we were going to do some room fires and then eventually burn it down," said Chief Rick Plummer.
Before the training could take place, the motel went up in flames. When the first crews arrived around 9 p.m. Tuesday, flames were raging out of control in the back of the building and spreading quickly. Dozens of firefighters from several communities responded and it took two hours to knock it
The building is now destroyed and there's nothing left of the second floor and the ground level is a burned out shell.