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Fire Razes Valencia Motel Site, Snarls Golden State Freeway


Flames raced through a 150-unit motel under construction near the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park in Valencia Saturday night and jumped across the Golden State Freeway, igniting several acres of brush and snarling traffic, the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported.

The blaze at Magic Mountain Parkway and The Old Road broke out about 8:40 p.m. and was brought under control shortly after 10 p.m.

As about 150 firefighters battled the blaze, flames shot into the sky but did not spread to a Marie Callender's restaurant about 100 yards away. The restaurant was evacuated as a precaution, authorities said.

One firefighter was hospitalized in undetermined condition.

The cause of the blaze was not known, although investigators were checking into the possibility of arson, firefighter John Salisbury said.

Embers blown over the Golden State Freeway ignited six acres of brush on the east side of the freeway but did not threaten any other structures, firefighter Larry Westby said.

The motel--a joint venture of Hilton Hotels Corp. and Newhall Land and Farming Co.--was destroyed and damage was estimated at more than $1 million, officials said.

The fire snarled traffic on the southbound side of the Golden State Freeway. Heat and smoke was so intense that the California Highway Patrol was forced to close the far right lane for more than an hour, witnesses said.

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