STEELE (AP) - A 50-year-old man was arrested Monday on suspicion of starting a weekend fire that destroyed a popular motel in the North Dakota town of Steele.
The man had not been charged as of late Monday afternoon, the Bismarck Tribune reported.
The Lone Steer Motel - located just off Interstate 94 about 40 miles east of Bismarck - burned to the ground Sunday morning.
All of the two-dozen people in the building got out safely, though some had to exit second-floor windows, make a short drop to another roof and then jump into the bed of a pickup truck parked next to the motel, The Forum newspaper reported. Most of the people staying there were with a construction crew working in the area.
"Everybody's accounted for," said Police Chief David Feland.
Two investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were called in, as were the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation and state fire marshal.
Steele firefighter Rob Dewitz told North Dakota Public Radio that the call came in about 8:45 a.m. and there was little that firefighters could do.
"You could see smoke coming out from the soffit, most of the way around the building. That tells us it's already in the attic, and it's pretty involved," he said.
Red Cross officials helped people find other places to stay.
The motel also housed a restaurant, casino and bar, and was a popular gathering spot for residents.
"It ends an era in Steele," Feland said of the motel's destruction.