NEWINGTON, Conn. (WTIC Radio) – The fire that struck the Grantmoor Motor Lodge on the Berlin Turnpike early Tuesday was no accident.

A fire official tells WTIC News, the blaze, which sent six people to the hospital, is a case of arson. Police have identified a “person of interest” in the case, said Fire Chief Chris R. Schroeder, who is also the town’s fire marshal. He declined to say how the fire, which originated in a first-floor room, was started.

Firefighters responded to the blaze around 4 a.m. Tuesday, after a police officer on routine patrol spotted smoke coming from the building.

The building was evacuated. Two guests, one of them a child, and four police officers were hospitalized for smoke inhalation. All have since been released.

Firefighters were able to get the fire under control in less than an hour. One firefighter suffered a minor burn.

During the investigation unrelated existing structural  failures were found  in the building. The Newington Building Department  issued an order to evacuate because the structure was unsafe.

54  people were displaced.The American Red Cross is working with  building management to assist those  displaced individuals.

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