‘Suspicious’ fire scorches LaGrange motel room

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 12, 2015

LaGrange firefighters respond to a call at the Super 8 Motel at 29 Patillo Road on Thursday evening. No one was injured in the small fire, according to fire officials.

A fire damaged a motel room Thursday evening off Lafayette Parkway near Interstate 85.

No one was injured.

LaGrange fire and police officials responded to the Super 8 Motel at 29 Patillo Road around 7 p.m. after a clerk there called 911, according to Troup County 911.

LaGrange police officers blocked Patillo Road as fire crew pulled hoses across the two-lane road, stopping traffic there for at least 30 minutes.

Several fire engines responded to the scene, including LaGrange Fire Department’s only — and newly commissioned — ladder truck.

Uniformed police roped off the area with crime scene tape and offered little explanation for the fire as several bystanders watched firefighters maneuver hoses.

Police are investigating the fire as a possible crime, according to LaGrange police detective Jeremy Jones. Police are not offering a potential motive or elaborating on the circumstances surrounding the incident. Jones said releasing further information could undermine the police department’s investigation.

A LaGrange firefighter, who spoke on conditions of anonymity because he was not authorized to release details, said police were called because of what was found inside the motel room, although he would not elaborate further. Another firefighter said he observed a hole in a wall inside the motel room.

“At this point, the fire’s cause is undetermined,” Jones said. “The location where the fire started is suspicious in nature, because of where it started.”

Jones said he was unable to name an exact location where the fire started due to the ongoing investigation, but said the area of the motel room where the fire began was not conducive to an electrical fire. Sgt. William Nelson of the LaGrange police Criminal Investigation Section told the Daily News this morning that officers collected samples from the area, which have been sent to a crime lab for testing.

Two people were occupying the motel room when the fire broke out, but were not on the scene when firefighters arrived, Jones said. Police had been unable to contact them as of this morning.

The motel’s manager said she was unable to comment on the incident.

Jones said the two occupants were from out of town, but working locally.

Jones asks witnesses, or anyone with information, to contact LaGrange police’s criminal investigations section at 706-883-2603. Tips may be submitted anonymously through Troup County Crime Stoppers at 706-812-1000 or by text to 888-777.

— Staff writer Melanie Ruberti contributed to this report.