No one was injured early Thursday morning when a fire started outside the Quality Inn at 1200 Benvenue Road.
Rocky Mount Fire Marshal Robbie Pate said the fire was started when a cigarette was improperly disposed of and ignited combustible landscaping materials.
“Raleigh officials passed legislation several years ago after a series of similar fires to limit pine straw and such near residential facilities and hotels,” Pate said. “This is why that happened.
Rocky Mount fire crews responded shortly before 2 a.m. to the hotel and quickly called for more units when they said they saw the smoke from a distance. According to fire reports, crews saw brown smoke billowing near the roof and flames coming from the exterior wall and column near the front of the hotel.
Firefighters evacuated all three floors of the building with help from Rocky Mount police. A ladder truck was set up to assist aerially with the fire attack while crews worked on the ground level. Officials said it took about 20 minutes to bring the fire under control and about 30 minutes from crews’ arrival to allow the occupants to return to their rooms. Thirty-nine people were at the hotel at the time, officials said.
Officials said the cause of the fire is under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 977-1111 or email@example.com.