A parent, a child and four Newington police officers were taken to the hospital after a fire at the Grantmoor Motor Lodge on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington.
Newington police said one of their officers on routine patrol noticed smoke coming from one of the rooms at 3000 Berlin Turnpike around 4 a.m. and called it in. Officers began evacuating the rooms as fire crews arrived on scene.
The building was evacuated. Officials confirmed that four police officers were taken to the hospital due to smoke inhalation concerns, but expected to be OK. A parent and a child who were inside the building were also transported. Officials said they might have been in the room where the fire started. Their conditions were not immediately clear.
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Diane Fales, a guest at the Grantmoor when the fire broke out, said those in the back rooms did not immediately realize the front was on fire.
"The vents were just pouring out smoke. So I’m thinking, the worst is that something’s going to blow up. That’s what they were making it sound like, you know, 'Get away,' screaming," she said.
The Grantmoor has 93 rooms. Officials said the fire started in a first-floor room, front and center of the building, room 104.
“Police officers said people were refusing to get out. They had to drag people out of their rooms," Fales told NBC Connecticut.
The people who stayed at the Grantmoor were left searching for answers and a new place to call home.
Among them was Marianne Delgado, who had to pack up her belongings into her car and figure out where she would sleep.
“For some reason, something told me to wake up and I heard the fire alarm very low and far away,” Delgado said.
It took firefighters about half an hour to get the flames under control. They remain on scene monitoring for hot spots.
Fire officials said the building is home to a few long-term residents under the town's authority and the building did not have any fire code violations.
However, an investigation revealed major but unrelated structural problems in the building. The Newington Building Department issued an order to vacate due to unsafe structure and 54 people were displaced as a result.
The lodge's management refunded its customers for a week. The company has not returned NBC Connecticut's inquiries.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but officials said it appears to be accidental.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.