October 25, 2011 in City, Idaho

Motel owner burned fighting Division St. fire

By The Spokesman-Review
Colin Mulvany photo

Rick Weaver, a Spokane Fire Department firefighter with Station 2, packs up hose at the Liberty Motel Tuesday morning Oct. 25, 2011. The 6 a.m. fire at 6801 N. Division, severely damaged a five-unit building, and is under investigation.
(Full-size photo)

Map of this story's location

The owner of the Liberty Motel, 6801 N. Division St., suffered burns this morning when he went into his fiery motel to make sure its occupants had escaped.

The woman who was staying in the room had already escaped, but in the confusion, owner Seung Na armed himself with two fire extinguishers and attacked the flames, according to his daughter, Jennifer Na.

“He went in to make sure everyone got out,” Jennifer Na said.

Her father wasn’t sure whether guests had escaped two other units adjacent to the one where the fire had started.

Spokane firefighters arrived just after 6 a.m., and firefighters stopped the blaze from spreading throughout the five-unit, single-story building at the front of the motel complex.

The fire appeared to be centered in one unit but spread above ceilings to other units. Firefighters cut a hole in the roof over a second unit to ventilate hot smoke and gas as part of their standard attack.

Smoke damage was evident in the other units of the building.

Damage was estimated at $70,000.

Southbound traffic on North Division was blocked for more than an hour as fire engines staged for attack. A single lane was opened about 7:30 a.m.

Seung Na went to Providence Holy Family Hospital for emergency treatment of first- and second-degree burns, but returned to the motel where he lives and was resting by late morning, his daughter said.

Three of the five rooms affected by the fire were occupied.

No other injuries were reported.

A fire investigator was on the scene at mid-morning sifting through steaming rubble brought down by the fire. He and other firefighters were using shovels to clear out the material so the investigator could find the point of origin of the fire and possibly the cause, which had yet to be determined by this afternoon.

Other parts of the motel remained open.

The Na family bought the motel more than three years ago, Jennifer Na said.

Spokane County property records show that the motel buildings were erected in 1949 through 1952.

The quaint, well-kept property rents rooms for as low as $45 a night.

“It’s homey,” Jennifer Na said.

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