Drake Motel resident: ‘The building is on fire. You need to get out now!’

Fire officials are still working to piece together what started a fire at the Drake Motel in Springfield Twp. on Wednesday.

Springfield Twp. Fire Department Battalion Chief Rob Shaw said the fire was contained to one unit of the motel, but other units sustained some damage from the fire and the smoke.

The fire started around 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday inside one of the units at the motel on East National Road.

Tiffany Cantrell, who lives a few units down with her husband James Cantrell, said she was in bed when the fire broke out.

She said she started to choke on the smoke that had gotten into her unit.

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“I get a pound on my door like, ‘boom!, boom! boom!,’” she said. “I hear ‘The building is on fire. You need to get out now!’”

Fire officials said there were two people inside the unit when the fire started. Both of them were able to get out safely — but everything inside the unit is completely destroyed.

“It was chaos really. You see people standing outside. You see what was going on, and your heart sinks when the lady that got the brunt of it — standing out there crying,” said James Cantrell.

Shaw said other units connected to the room where the fire started had “light” damage to them. On Wednesday, many of the people living in those units were packing up their belongings and leaving.

Immediately after the fire broke out, the electricity to the motel was turned off for safety reasons.

The Cantrells were crossing their fingers that they would get the green light from officials to stay for the night — because they said the alternative was sleeping in their car.

“The only thing that sucks is we just paid yesterday,” said James Cantrell. “So I don’t have the money to go get another room.”

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The Springfield News-Sun made follow up calls to both Springfield Twp. Fire and the Drake, but it wasn’t clear if anyone besides those in the unit where the fire broke out would be displaced.

Management at the Drake told the News-Sun on scene that they were working to remodel the entire motel to reduce the negativity surrounding it, and the fire is a hiccup in that project.

James Cantrell noted the dumpsters full of old appliances and fixtures he had been seeing in recent weeks.

“They’re really trying to make this place better,” he said. “So it just sucks to see this happen when they’re trying to put so much money into it.”

Fire officials do not believe the fire was set on purpose, but the exact cause has yet to be determined.

The fire is under investigation by the Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office.

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