A fire Monday afternoon at the County Hearth Inn on the Eastern Bypass was likely caused by a hot plate, said Richmond Fire Chief Buzzy Campbell.
Having a cooking device of that type in the room was a violation of hotel rules, Campbell added.
Witnesses said the room’s occupant left soon after the fire started, Campbell reported. Police have his description and vehicle type and are seeking him for questioning, the fire chief added.
Substantial damage was caused to adjacent rooms, including those on each side and below, Campbell said. The room where the fire began was a total loss.
Three other residents were in the building when the fire started, but not in nearby rooms. They were easily relocated to an adjacent building owned by the Country Hearth Inn, Campbell said.