A vacant motel off Airport Way caught fire early Monday morning, according to fire department officials.

Firefighters responded to the old Monson Motel, 1321 Karen Way, around 6:15 a.m., according to University Fire Department Fire Marshall Kyle Green. No injuries were reported, Green said.

Neighbor Dave Turbovsky said he noticed smoke in the center of the structure about 6 a.m. Monday.

“I saw smoke and it wasn’t a ton, but it seemed like there shouldn’t be smoke there, you know, I was still a little sleepy,” he said. “I walked back and looked in and I could hear the crackling, and then I saw flames and called 911 and they were here shortly thereafter.”

The blaze remained active midday Monday, but officials said it was contained within the building and there is no threat of other exposures. The cause of the fire is unknown, Green said.

“It’s a structure that we’ve known to be vacant for the last three years and so part of the challenge is access,” Green said. “Where it’s situated, we don’t have very good access to get vehicles in so we’re utilizing a lot of neighboring properties to make our fire attack.”

Officials believe the building was vacant when the flames began.

“We haven’t been able to really go in and do a thorough sweep yet, but again, it was known to us to be vacant and it was pretty well boarded up when we arrived,” Green said.

An investigation will be conducted by the University Fire Marshal after the flames are extinguished.

The University Fire Department primarily responded to the blaze and the city of Fairbanks, Chena Goldstream Fire and Rescue, Steese Fire Volunteer Fire Department, Fort Wainwright Fire Department and North Pole Fire Department provided mutual aid, Green said.

Contact Liv Clifford at 459-7582, lclifford@newsminer.com or follow her at twitter.com/FDNMcrime.

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