Quick thinking on the part of a couple Merrittonians last night kept a potentially dangerous situation from spiralling into a full-scale emergency.

A small fire broke out around the back of the Prince Motel on Nicola Avenue last night, leading to the Merritt Fire Rescue department being called in around 8:30 p.m.

“[The fire] was actually on the exterior of the building, so on the north side of the building underneath the stairwell, there was some refuse,” said Fire Chief Dave Tomkinson. “Somehow it became ablaze. The fire extended from that to the vinyl siding on the side of the building itself. It was contained to that [area] by some fast acting neighbours.”

No one needed to be evacuated from the motel, added Tomkinson, noting that he doesn’t expect a disruption of business for the motel as a result of the fire.

Without a definitive cause for the fire, Tomkinson said his department is treating the matter as suspicious. Anyone with information about what caused the fire, they are encouraged to contact the Merritt RCMP.