EATON — On Monday, July 9, seven Preble County fire departments responded to reports of a fire at New Budget Inn, located at 6161 U.S. 127 in Eaton. According to Preble County Sheriff Mike Simpson, reports of the incident came from the Pilot Travel Center which sits next to the motel. No one was injured in the fire, but substantial damage was done to to the structure.
The call came in on Monday at 11:59 p.m., reporting the fire was showing at the motel. The responding agencies included West Manchester Fire Department, Eldorado Fire Department, Lewisburg Fire Department, North Central EMS, Verona Fire Department, New Paris Fire Department, and Eaton Fire Division.
Sheriff’s deputies responded as well, and the Preble County Sheriff’s Office became involved in the investigation with the Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office. Currently, the two offices are running a joint investigation and no suspects have been identified nor rulings released.
New Budget Inn is currently open for business, but only renting rooms from the east side of the building.
As for damage to the building, Sheriff Simpson said, “There was substantial damage to the west side of the building. There are a couple wings and this would have been the west side. The fire originated out of Room 126. Many, if not all of the residents of that hotel, were evacuated.
“Our office has an open investigation into the fire and circumstances surrounding it, in conjunction with the Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office. Detectives from the Sheriff’s Office and investigators from the Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office were on scene most of the day, processing for evidence. Our investigation continues.”
There were reports an individual was arrested for causing a disturbance at the scene, but according to Kelly Stincer, Public Information Officer with the Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office, this individual is not a suspect.
“We do not have a ruling at this point. It is an open investigation, so there really isn’t a lot we can say about it, other than that there was a fire incident,” she said. “Investigators have decided that this was caused of a human act, but we don’t know how, so we can’t rule that a cause”
“Yes, investigators do believe it was an intentionally set fire or of a human act, but do not know how,” Stincer said. “We are accepting tips from the public. There was an arrest made for somebody being disorderly at the fire scene, but he is not a suspect.”
If anyone has any information relating to the fire at New Budget Inn, they are encouraged to call in a tip at 1-800-589-2728.