Fire crews investigate if arson involved in motel fire

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The Super 8 motel remains shut down after a fire broke out before 3 a.m. Thursday.

Now arson investigators are working to find out if someone started the flames on purpose near I-35 and N.E. 122nd St.

With smoke billowing and flames burning at the motel, Jay Arqueros jumped into action.

He said "I saw the fire and we started calling everybody, 'Fire! Fire! Fire!'"

He went door-to-door warning others to get out.

When safe, his roommate took video of the powerful flames on his phone while others stood, stunned.

Fire crews evacuated almost 50 people, climbing into the thick smoke to check for anyone left behind.

"It was burning really quick," Ed Vienneau said.

The breezeway where firefighters said the flames began is left charred.

Investigators said that area was undergoing remodeling.

The scorched furniture now scattered in the parking lot was being stored in that area.

The welding tanks filled with highly flammable gas left in the breezeway were a big concern for firefighters. 

When those went up, firefighters had to put them out fast.

People described hearing the tanks explode.

"I'm talking about an explosion," Jay Dunacusky said. "I even think windows over there were cracked it was so big."

The motel is expected to be back open when their electricity is restored in 24 to 48 hours. 

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Firefighters responded to a three-alarm fire in the 12000 block of the I-35 service road early Thursday morning.

The 911 call came in about 3 a.m. that the Super 8 Motel on I-35 at NE 122nd was on fire.

Crews arrived to find heavy flames and smoke in a second story balcony area.

Firefighters proceeded with caution because there were some propane tanks exploding in the area, causing the fire to burn hotter and more violent, they say.

No injuries were reported.

Everyone in the motel was evacuated as crews put out the fire.

There was low hydrant pressure forcing crews to call for additional tanker trucks.

Fire officials are trying to determine a cause.