Oct 12, 2013 3:37 PM by Lindsay MacLeod, KSBY News
Santa Maria Police are investigating a suspicious hotel fire.
The Town Center Hotel on the 200 block of North Broadway caught fire around 2:25 a.m. Saturday. Firefighters say they're treating it as a crime scene.
Santa Maria City Fire arrived at the scene and reported seeing flames on the first floor, spreading to the second floor. They worked quickly to evacuate the people inside, but smoke conditions got so intense the officers were forced out of the building. They then used a ladder truck to help people escape from the upper floors.
Firefighters say seven people were taken to local hospitals for treatment. Most people were treated for smoke inhalation, and no one had any serious injuries.
The Santa Maria Police Department and the Santa Barbara County Arson Task Force are taking over the investigation.
The Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Lompoc Fire Department, and Five Cities Fire Authority also responded to the fire.
Firefighters estimate about $1,400,000 in damages.
The hotel is known for housing long-term residents. The American Red Cross serving Santa Barbara County opened a shelter for the people who were displaced by the fire. The shelter is at Minami Community Center in Santa Maria. Red Cross volunteers are also providing food, comfort, and care to the people in need.
Photo Courtesy: Five Cities Fire Authority
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