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Vehicle fire damages Econo Lodge in Warner Robins

Witness talks about Econo Lodge fire in Warner Robins

What started as a vehicle fire Sunday forced the evacuation of the Econo Lodge in Warner Robins after the building caught fire.
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What started as a vehicle fire Sunday forced the evacuation of the Econo Lodge in Warner Robins after the building caught fire.

A vehicle fire caused a blaze that damaged the Econo Lodge on Sunday, but no one was injured.

The fire started about 11 a.m. when a van caught fire. The fire quickly spread to the building, located on Watson Boulevard just east of Interstate 75, but all guests were able to get out.

The Warner Robins Fire Department got the fire out in about 15 minutes, said Lt. Chris Cannady. The van was destroyed and the two rooms nearest to it suffered significant damage. Several other rooms were damaged by smoke.

All guests were evacuated as soon as the blaze started, said Surya Patel, who co-owns the hotel with her husband, Jay. She said she isn’t sure when the hotel might be able to reopen.

Phillip Thomas of Albany was staying at the hotel with more than a dozen other family members. They were on their way back from seeing his daughter graduate from UGA on Saturday. The van that burned belonged to Thomas’ son.

He said they were in the room when they smelled smoke, then went outside and saw the van on fire. They got everyone out of the rooms they occupied and scrambled to move their other vehicles that were near the van.

“It was a scary moment,” he said. “It was in flames and had extremely strong smoke and extreme heat.”

Wayne Crenshaw: 478-256-9725, @WayneCrenshaw1

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