The building was evacuated immediately after township police arrived at the scene around 4:20 a.m. and observed flames coming from the southeast corner of the motel.
The fire was centralized around Room 48 where Erik Kelly, 41, had been living for the past several months, police said in a prepared news release. Kelly told police he was smoking a cigarette, took his child into the bathroom, and when they emerged, the bed was on fire. The fire spread up into the ceiling, causing significant damage to the motel.
No injuries were reported. All residents were displaced and moved to another motel in the area, according to police. The motel is closed until further notice.
Several township fire departments responded to the fire, including Southard, Adelphia, Freewood Acres and Ramtown. Fire units from Jackson Township also responded, along with the Howell and Ramtown First Aid squads. The Howell Fire Bureau and a building inspector from the township Building Department also responded.