NEWINGTON - Tuesday morningâ€™s fire at the Grantmoor Motor Lodge has been ruled as arson and police are searching for the person responsible.
The hotel had 44 guests at the time of the blaze.
â€śIt was a significant risk to any patron, and it was amplified by 44,â€ť said Police Sgt. Christopher Perry. â€śThe risk to first responders and residents was very significant.â€ť
Fire Chief Christopher Schroeder, who is also the townâ€™s fire marshal, said Wednesday morning that an investigation had determined the fire at the Berlin Turnpike motel was set.
The fire sent six people to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. Dozens of hotel guests had to be evacuated.
The four officers who went door-to-door to get the hotel occupants out safely were all released from St. Francis Hospital in Hartford Tuesday, police said.
Officer Tyler Grant was on patrol around 4:05 a.m. when he noticed smoke billowing from a first-floor room in the west wing of the motel, Chief Stephen Clark said.
Grant radioed for help and began banging on doors to get guests out. He also helped get a woman and her child, who were staying in a room behind the one on fire, to safety, Schroeder said.
Officers Ralph Chater, Alan Tancreti and Michael Fallon, were also taken to the hospital, officials said.
Schroeder did not know if the woman and her child had been released, but said it appeared they had been taken to a hospital as a precaution.
â€śThe police department should be credited with saving lives,â€ť Schroeder said.
The room where the fire started had been rented, but appeared to be unoccupied at the time, Perry said.
His department is now working with Schroederâ€™s office and the Office of the State Fire Marshal to determine who set the room on fire.
â€śWeâ€™re investigating and will be interviewing guests,â€ť Perry said.
Schroeder declined to provide any details on how the fire was started, referring all questions on details to police.
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.