GRAND CHUTE — A fire that swept the Days Inn hotel
early Sunday caused $1 million in damage.
Grand Chute Fire Chief John Pauls said damage to the hotel
at 200 N. Perkins St. included $800,000 to the structure
$200,000 to contents.
The fire was reported at 2:13 a.m., at least 25 minutes
after it was first discovered by hotel guests, according
to fire investigator Mike Geissler.
“Hotel guests were seen leaving the hotel at 2 a.m.
on a hotel surveillance camera,” Geissler said in
a press release. “Witnesses also stated they tried
unsuccessfully to fight the fire with portable extinguishers
prior to activating the local fire alarm.”
Pauls attributed part of the delay to civilian efforts
to put out the blaze. “Before the alarm sounded, witnesses
statements that people tried to put out the fire using extinguishers.”
Pauls said Wednesday there was no explanation why no one
called 911 during the 13 minutes that videotape showed
people leaving the hotel.
Geissler said the cause of the fire is undetermined, but
is not considered suspicious.
“We believe the fire originated in the area above
the ceiling of the maintenance office on the second floor
of the hotel;
however, due to the extensive damage, an exact cause cannot
be determined,” he said.
Pauls said the delay in notifying the fire department
was significant because when firefighters arrived, the hotel
was filled with dense smoke and flames were shooting from
Dan Rodriguez and his wife, Lisa, had been in their second-floor
room for no more than 15 minutes after a night out when
they heard someone yelling “fire.”
Rodriguez, 27, said he left the room and saw flames coming
from what appeared to be a maintenance or storage closet
near his room overlooking the pool area.
Rodriguez said he and a friend attempted to put out the
fire with fire extinguishers.
“My friend pulled the fire alarm,” he said.
“After we used up three extinguishers, the fire and
smoke got to be too much.
It spread pretty quickly. Everything happened so fast.”
Rodriguez said people were milling around in the hotel
lobby. “There were people standing around with no
clue what was
happening. They weren’t sure there was a fire, but
I had seen the flames,” he said.It took firefighters
departments nearly two hours to bring the blaze under control.
Two Grand Chute firefighters suffered minor injuries
when a portion of the ceiling in the pool area collapsed.
More than 150 hotel guests and staff escaped the blaze
The hotel remains closed, but the adjacent Horseshoe Lounge,
which was protected by fire doors, is open for business.