Fire hits Williamsburg hotel
No one was injured; officials don't know extent of the damage
WILLIAMSBURG -- A construction fire caused an undetermined
amount of damage yesterday at the Williamsburg Lodge.
No one was injured in the blaze, which broke out shortly
before 11 a.m. in a portion of the famous hotel undergoing
renovation, officials said.
Up to a dozen firefighters, however, underwent decontamination
after being exposed to asbestos while battling the fire.
Jodi Miller, assistant city manager in Williamsburg, said
the firefighters all were wearing protective clothing and
breathing air from tanks when they were exposed, so there
was no fear they had inhaled any of the toxic asbestos particles.
She said the decontamination involved thoroughly hosing
off their uniforms and protective clothing.
The fire apparently started as a worker used a torch to
cut stainless steel ductwork near the hotel's kitchen, said
Sophia Hart, a spokeswoman for the Colonial Williamsburg
Foundation. Grease in the ductwork may have ignited, she
The fire generated large amounts of smoke as firefighters
arrived from Williamsburg and James City and York counties.
By early afternoon, the smoke was no longer visible.
The fire was declared under control shortly before 1 p.m.
and extinguished about the same time.
Part of the lodge has been demolished in a renovation and
expansion project that will include new construction. One
newer wing of the hotel, not attached to the area under
construction and now called Tazewell Hall, had guests in
Hart said the guests were not evacuated. Nearby, tourists
strolled as on any other pleasant day in the historic area.
Monetary estimates of damage were not immediately available.
Officials said the structure suffered some water damage,
but investigators had not determined the extent of any structural
The renovation work was being done by Clancy & Theys
Construction Co., a Raleigh, N.C.-based company with a division
office in Newport News.
The renovated Williamsburg Lodge had been scheduled to
reopen in 2006.