GASTONIA, N.C. (WJZY) — An abandoned motel went up in flames in Gastonia Monday night.

Authorities on the scene say the blaze started as a call for a dumpster fire in the 500 block of Cox Road around 8 p.m. When firefighters from the Gastonia Fire Department arrived, they saw the flames shooting in the air and upgraded it to a commercial fire.

Firefighters believe fire started in one of the 50 rooms in the motel. Gastonia Fire Chief Phillip Welch Jr. was confident no one was inside.

A dozen units responded using 65 firefighters. The Interstate 85 exit for Cox Road was closed for several hours by Gastonia Police.

The hotel has been abandoned for years, according to authorities. There was no power to the building and firefighters are certain someone broke in and started a fire.

Welch acknowledged the city has been dealing with those who are homeless breaking into the motel.

This was the second fire at the property in two years. One also occurred in August 2022, and many of the windows were boarded up from the incident.