Cause of massive Commerce motel fire still under investigation

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Banks County firefighters can be seen battling a blaze at the Motel 6 in Commerce on June 20, 2022. (Derek Lee / FOX 5 viewer)

Fire inspectors are still investigating the massive fire at a Commerce motel on Monday evening, but have been able to rule out arson.

The fire was reported just before 6:30 p.m. at the Motel 6 located at 128 Frontage Road in Banks County. That is off the U.S. 441 exit off Interstate 85 close to the Tanger Outlet.

What caused the Motel 6 Commerce fire?

While the cause is still under investigation, several potential causes have been ruled out.

"We completely ruled out Arson, Cooking, or illegal Drug manufacturing as a cause to the devastating fire incident," Banks County fire wrote in a statement Wednesday.

The State Fire Marshal's Office, Banks County Arson Investigations, and the investigation unit for the motel’s insurance company have met several times since the fire to review their findings.

"The origin of the fire was in a void space between the rooms, near the attic space, where wiring and plumbing was located," firefighters wrote. "The vent fan and electrical wiring in that area could not be ruled out as the cause of the fire. It is listed as an accidental fire."

The second floor of the building sustained heavy fire damage. The first floor had water and smoke damage.

A final determination of the cause has not been made.

Firefighters treated after battling massive motel fire

Firefighters arrived at the scene to find flame shooting through the roof.

The Athens Banner-Herald reports firefighters were forced from the building shortly after arriving due to a ‘"smoke explosion" inside the structure.

Two Banks County firefighters suffered fatigue and heat exhaustion. Both were transported to Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center for treatment. Both are expected to be OK.

About 30 people were staying at the motel the day the fire broke out. They were moved to other nearby lodging.

Ten different fire agencies from the surrounding area responded to the scene to help battle the blaze. Area EMS and local law enforcement also assisted.