NEWINGTON - Officials are working on finding the cause of a fire at the Grantmoor Motor Lodge early Tuesday morning that sent four police officers and two patrons to the hospital to be checked for smoke inhalation.
Officer Tyler Grant was on patrol at around 4:05 a.m. when he noticed smoke billowing from a first floor room in the west wing of the motor lodge located at 3000 Berlin Turnpike and called for help, Police Chief Stephen Clark said.
The officer began banging on doors to get patrons out and helped get a woman and her child who were staying in a room behind the unit on fire to safety, Fire Chief Christopher Schroeder said. All three were taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, Schroeder said.
Officers Ralph Chater, Alan Tancreti and Michael Fallon, who arrived before firefighters and began banging on room doors, were also taken to the hospital, officials said. All four officers were treated and released by 8 a.m., Clark said. Schroeder did not know if the woman and her child had been released, but said it appeared they were taken to the hospital as a precaution.
“The police department should be credited with saving lives,” Schroeder said.
The room where the fire started had been rented out, but it was unclear if the patrons were in the unit when the blaze began, Schroeder said.
Fire officials started their investigation into the cause shortly after the blaze was extinguished, he said. They were to enter the room where the fire started Tuesday morning and were looking to talk to the patrons who were staying in the room, Schroeder said.
People who were staying in the west wing of the motor lodge were moved to the east wing, said Barbara Gigliotti with the Central Connecticut Health District. A total of 43 rooms were occupied when the fire broke out, she said. The health district licenses hotels in Newington.
Gigliotti was at the scene of the fire Tuesday morning waiting for town building officials to determine if structural damage in the west wing, where the fire occurred, will require the entire establishment to be closed.
At the height of the blaze all four town fire companies were at the scene battling the fire while firefighters from Wethersfield, Berlin, Rocky Hill and Cromwell manned local stations.
The fire was contained in about 30 minutes, Schroeder said. Patrons either sat in their car in the parking lot or were placed in the lobby while the blaze was being fought so they would stay warm, he said.
The east wing of the hotel had water, heat and electricity as of Tuesday morning, Gigliotti said. The American Red Cross and the town’s Human Services Department would help with any relocation if the hotel had to be closed down entirely, she said.
The blaze melted steel beams near the unit that caught fire, Schroeder said. He expected the west wing of the hotel to be shut down until repairs could be made.
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.