Motel near Florida Mall catches fire; 69 people evacuated

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A motel near The Florida Mall caught fire Wednesday evening, Orange County Fire Rescue said.

The fire was reported shortly after 8:15 p.m. at the Travelodge motel at South Orange Blossom Trail and West Landstreet Road, firefighters said.

Motel guest Lazaro Almeida said he first thought the flames were coming from a nearby truck, but he soon realized the building was on fire.

"There were families, old ladies," he said. "They were scared because they didn't know what was happening."

Almeida said he notified management of the blaze and began knocking on doors.

"It was about helping people out," he said. "I was trying to help get everyone out."

Firefighters said 39 of the motel's 132 rooms were evacuated because of the blaze, which started in an attic. There were 62 adults and seven children staying in those rooms, they said.

Firefighters continue to monitor the building for flare-ups.

No one was injured in the fire, the cause of which remains under investigation.