The embattled Econo Lodge in Battle Creek caught fire overnight. The motel was set to officially close this week for 90 days. That’s because of an agreement reached with the city last month.  Motel management has been moving long stay guests out in advance of the closing.

So far there is no word of any injuries.  The Battle Creek Fire Department got the first report of the fire around 9:30 last night.  Department units remain at the scene this morning.  It may be some time before the extent of the damage is determined.

Last month’s 90 day closing agreement between the hotel and the city preventing a court hearing in Battle Creek’s lawsuit against the motel. The city says it’s a nuisance. Over a 13 month period ending in February of this year, police responded to 475 complaints at the motel. They include reports of building and code violations, drug sales, prostitution, assaults, and domestic violence. The city attorney has indicated that if the motel attempts to re-open after the 90 day closing – the city will continue to pursue its attempts to shut it down for good.  The city administration is also working on a new ordinance to expand control over similar businesses.

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