Clarence Hotel Fire Claims Life

December 30, 2011 Updated Dec 30, 2011 at 9:31 AM EDT

By WKBW News

December 30, 2011 Updated Dec 30, 2011 at 9:31 AM EDT

Clarence, N.Y. (WKBW) - The fire erupted just before 6 p.m. Thursday night at the Rock Garden Court Motel in Clarence. Authorities said the fire started in a room where the body of an unidentified man was discovered.

When fire crews arrived the building was engulfed in smoke and flames so officials called in a second alarm. More than a half a dozen crews and about 60 volunteers were on scene. It took them about a half an hour to get the fire under control by then two rooms were totally destroyed. Seventeen other rooms in the motel were not severely damaged.

The building is considered a motel but many residents stay there on a long-term basis so those people have to find temporary housing.

"Things went fairly smoothly. Our crews did a good job and got it knocked down quickly. I believed the fire was contained to the fire of origin," Clarence Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Schlabach said.

Police are now waiting on autopsy results to identify the victim in the fire, which caused about $200 thousand in damages. Authorities continue to investigate a cause.

The damage to the two rooms was near destruction but the entire building is scheduled to be demolished regardless of the damage to make room for more house units in the neighborhood.