Police tape and charred debris remained Saturday at the Olympic Motor Lodge in Hauppauge after the motel was ravaged with fire on Friday night, which police said was caused by a man smoking in bed.
It was around 8:20 p.m. on Friday when emergency crews began rushing to 650 Vanderbilt Motor Parkway, responding to reports of a fire. When firefighters reached the scene, they found the two-story building engulfed with flames. Police said the fire started in a room on the second floor. “A male guest admitted that he had fallen asleep while smoking and when he woke up, the mattress was on fire,” a police spokesperson said.
The man attempted to put out the fire, but was unsuccessful. The fire then spread to two adjoining rooms. The motel’s 17 occupied rooms were evacuated as fire crews from Hauppauge, Brentwood, East Brentwood and Central Islip worked to extinguish the flames.
Police said the American Red Cross also responded to the scene to assist the displaced guests. A Red Cross spokesman said the agency was on scene after the fire and met with eight people. Those individuals were already being assisted by the Suffolk County Department of Social Services and are were brought to another local motel, officials said.
Detectives said an investigation into the fire is currently ongoing and a police spokesperson said that Arson Squad detectives are now probing the incident.
Work crews, including an electrician, were seen at the ravaged building on Saturday afternoon. Representatives from the Olympic Motor Lodge could not be reached for comment and the office at the motel remained closed on Saturday.