Nelson Fire and Rescue says the fire that tore through part of the Villa Motel last month likely started from a heater in the pool area.
The fire was first reported at 5 a.m. on Nov. 6 at the motel, just north of the Orange Bridge on Highway 3A. Forty-two firefighters from Nelson and the rural area responded, and the blaze was finally extinguished at 4 p.m.
In a statement released Monday, the fire department said its investigation found fire had spread from a heater to the ceiling above the motel’s pool where it burned undetected for at least half an hour before it was reported by a guest.
The statement added that by the time 911 was called the fire had burned through the floor of a room above the pool and into the ceiling above that.
The fire took nearly 12 hours to put out, in part because it was partially located over a full pool. But the department said the floor above the pool was also structurally compromised, which meant crews couldn’t access the area.