It was probably gummed up with old cooking grease.. If the ambient temprature was warm enough, it might start, if not, hummmmm..
I had a similar problem with the ceiling fan in the kitchen at the house we rent, It was full of grease.. I took the whole thing apart, and degunked it, oiled it, and reinstalled.. works much better now..
Had to do a similar feat with the range hood (self contained, vents to room, not to exterior.), including a complete stripping of all paint, and repainting.. it was caked with years worth of cooking grease..