NEWINGTON - Police have charged a Manchester man with breaking into the Grantmoor Motor Lodge in February and setting a fire that sent four police officers and two guests to a hospital to be checked for smoke inhalation.
Guillermo Serrano, 27, allegedly started the fire while guests were staying in the motor lodge the morning of Feb. 13, police said.
A police officer on patrol noticed smoke billowing from a first-floor room in the west wing of the motel, at 3000 Berlin Turnpike at 4:05 a.m. and called for help, Police Chief Stephen Clark said at the time.
The officer began banging on doors to get guests 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.
Three other officers who arrived before firefighters and began banging on doors were also taken to the hospital, officials said.
All four officers were treated and released by 8 a.m. that morning, Clark said. The woman and child were taken to the hospital as a precaution, fire officials said.
The room where the fire started had been rented, but it was unclear if the patrons were in the unit when the blaze began, officials said.
The fire was traced to Serrano, who police believe forced entry into the room and intentionally set it on fire.
He was spotted by a Hartford detective sitting in a car and ran off when approached. He was taken into custody after a brief foot chase, police said.
Serrano was charged with first-degree burglary, first-degree arson, first-degree criminal mischief and first-degree reckless endangerment.
He was held on $750,000 bond after his arraignment in New Britain Superior Court Wednesday.
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.