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Microwave fire damages room at Motel 6 in Auburn

Authorities call it accidental, no injuries
By: Andrew Westrope, Staff Writer
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A small fire damaged a room at Motel 6 in Auburn early Monday morning and forced guests to evacuate.

No injuries were reported.

Motel staff evacuated the building when fire alarms started going off at approximately 4 a.m., sending the occupants of 12 rooms out into the cold.

Beth Bowersox, a spokeswoman for Cal Fire, said Cal Fire units were dispatched at 4:17 a.m. and assisted by firefighters from Placer County, Newcastle, Placer Hills, Penryn, Rocklin, and American Medical Response.

“We had another structure fire in the Colfax area right before this one, so nearby units were tied up on that,” she said. “So we requested a lot of mutual aid.”

According to Bowersox, first responders saw light smoke coming from the building and requested a second alarm. The fire was contained at 4:32 a.m., and most units cleared the scene around 6 a.m.

John Austin, a witness of the incident, said he was eating at Denny’s across the street when he heard the sirens of emergency responders. He said the fire was not visible from outside.

“I didn’t see anything, I just saw the fire trucks coming and the police coming. It was early, about 4 or 5 a.m.,” Austin said.

Cal Fire Captain Troy Adamson said the investigation ruled that the fire was an accident caused by a microwave. He said only a single sprinkler head went off in the building, causing runoff that soaked the hallway, but he credited the system with saving the motel.

“The sprinkler system worked 100 percent effectively, as it should have, which saved the entire building as well as the fire department’s response,” Adamson said.

Hotel manager Marlon Cinta said the insurance company had yet to assess the damage, but besides water damage from the sprinklers, it was confined to a single room.

“The room didn’t catch on fire. It was just the microwave and the refrigerator down there, because (firefighters) were able to extinguish the fire right away,” he said.

Guests waited in their cars until about 8:30 a.m., when the county building and fire departments declared that the motel was habitable and allowed the guests to return to their rooms.

Motel 6 did not have to close its doors Monday, as the county building inspector also permitted the motel to continue renting out rooms on the top floor.

“We already had the inspection, and they just said shut off (the bottom) floor, but people can still rent upstairs, because it was not (major) damage,” Cinta said.