The homeless appear to be responsible for a fire at the abandoned Canal Farm Inn & Motel, according to a Fire Department official.
Assistant Fire Chief Tim Marrison said the fire was reported Sunday at 3:25 p.m. in the 1400 block of East Pacheco Boulevard, next to España’s Southwest Bar & Grill. The fire began in one of the motel suites and spread to three others before it was extinguished.
“It appears to be transients,” Marrison said, adding that the department has not determined if the blaze was a cooking fire that grew out of control.
Two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion and a homeless woman reported symptoms of smoke inhalation as a result of the fire.
The incident marks the fourth fire at the location in the past few years.
“The property owner has been boarding it up but they (homeless people) are ripping the boards off,” Marrison said.
He said the motel has been damaged by fire so much through the years that he cannot give an estimate of the damage the latest blaze caused because the building has no value.
Marrison said the property owner plans to demolish the building as soon as “litigation” regarding the property has concluded.
Michael Amabile, owner of España’s restaurant, once owned the building, but sold the eastern portion to Holiday Inn Express to build a hotel about five years ago. Amabile told the Enterprise last year that he was involved “in litigation” with an insurance company over the property.
Marrison said four engines and a ladder truck responded to Sunday’s fire.