Tiffin hotels were packed Wednesday with Willard residents who were displaced from their homes after a train derailment prompted an evacuation.
Brennen Miller, assistant general manager of Hampton Inn, said the hotel received a call around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday notifying them of the derailment and chemical spill. Around 5 a.m., people started to come in, he said. Residents displaced by the accident continued to come in throughout the day, Miller said.
"When I left last night, I didn't expect to walk into this today," Miller said Wednesday afternoon.
PHOTO BY ERIKA PLATT-HANDRU
Twelve-year-old Yoni Morales, seated next to his neighbor Ramiro Martinez (standing), watches TV with his brothers and sisters Wednesday afternoon at Hampton Inn in Tiffin.
He said 40 or 45 of the hotel's 65 rooms were occupied by Willard residents who were evacuated. Miller said the hotel was working with CSX to accommodate the guests.
"We're trying to accommodate them the best we can," he said.
Ramiro Martinez, a Willard resident who was staying Wednesday at Hampton Inn, said he lives very close to the railroad tracks and was awoken by law enforcement early Wednesday morning. Police evacuated him, and he then made his way to the Hampton Inn. Martinez brought his Chihuahua with him, but because the hotel wouldn't allow pets, it was staying in his car.
Martinez said he had been going out to the car every couple of hours to heat up the car and take care of the dog.
He said officials told him he would probably be able to return to his residence this evening.
Yoni Morales, a neighbor of Martinez, said he and his family also were awoken early Wednesday morning by law enforcement.
Morales, 12, was staying at Hampton Inn Wednesday with his family. He said he and his brothers and sisters were enjoying going to Carmie's Grill and Bar and watching TV at the hotel.
A spokeswoman at Holiday Inn Express said Wednesday that about 65 people affected by the incident were staying at the hotel. Most of them arrived during the night, she said.
Holiday Inn Express is working with CSX, the spokeswoman said, which has catered meals to those staying at the hotel.
At Quality Inn, about a dozen rooms were occupied Wednesday with Willard residents displaced by the derailment.
Dana O'Quinn, general manager of the hotel, said most of the guests arrived Wednesday morning.
"The day before Thanksgiving is usually quiet," she said.
O'Quinn said CSX has put up the residents up with an indefinite checkout.