HOUNSFIELD — A long-vacant motel room, suspected to be a former meth lab, caught fire late Wednesday but was extinguished quickly. 

The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but firefighters were hosed off themselves after exiting the room in case there was contamination.

About 30 firefighters and state police swarmed the abandoned Harbor Motel, at the intersection of Route 3 and Smithville Road at 10:40 p.m.

The fire was contained in roughly five minutes, Sackets Harbor Fire Chief Derek Derouin said. As firefighters were coming out of the motel, they could be seen being hosed off. Derouin said this was a safety measure and had nothing to do with the fire, rather there had once been a suspected meth lab in the motel. 

“We wanted to make sure no one was contaminated from the former meth lab there,” Derouin said, adding that the procedure will likely become more common throughout Jefferson County. 

Derouin said he couldn’t confirm or deny whether there were illegal tenants in the building at the time of the blaze. He did say the sheriff’s office had been at the motel recently following up on reports of people staying in the area. 

The incident Wednesday night resulted in no injuries, he said. The Jefferson County Office of Fire and Emergency Management is heading the investigation. 

“I can’t remember the last time the motel had been occupied,” Derouin said. “It’s in serious disrepair.”

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