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Published: Wednesday, 7/1/2009

1 injured as two fires hit Monroe


MONROE - A man was injured Tuesday night in one of two fires that started within about an hour and just around the corner from each other, authorities said.

The fires were reported at the Gateway Baptist Church, 6146 East Dunbar Rd. and at Motel 7, 15390 South Dixie Hwy., at 8:09 p.m. and at 9:22 p.m. respectively, said Calvin Schmitt, a fire inspector for the Monroe Township Volunteer Fire Department.

Rodney Wilson, 44, who suffered second degree burns and smoke inhalation in the motel fire, was taken to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, Mr. Schmitt said. Mr. Wilson’s condition was unavailable Wednesday morning, a hospital spokesman said.

Firefighters pulled Mr. Wilson to safety shortly after they arrived at the motel and found fire in Room 19. They evacuated the building and extinguished the blaze by 11:43 p.m. but not before it had spread to the roof, with damage estimated at $150,000.

The exact cause of the fire that had started in the bed area and was ruled accidental was under investigation, Mr. Schmitt said.

Firefighters arrived at the scene of the motel fire after they were dispatched by other fire crews who were at the time fighting the church fire and saw smoke coming from the roof of the motel building just around the corner, the fire inspector said.

Fire crews at the scene of the church fire saw flames on the second floor of the two-story concrete block building. They extinguished the fire by 12:10 a.m., by which time the roof was largely destroyed, Mr. Schmitt said.

The fire had started in a second-floor storage area. It was ruled accidental, with the exact cause under investigation. The damage estimate was unavailable, the fire inspector said.

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