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No damages, injuries
in Delafield Hotel fire call


May 1, 2006

DELAFIELD - An overheated extension cord caused the evacuation of a recently opened hotel in downtown Delafield.
City fire crews received a call of smoke in the main ballroom of the Delafield Hotel, 415 Genesee St., at about 1 p.m. Sunday and found the power cord as the cause, said Delafield Fire Department Deputy Chief Matt Fennig. Everyone from the hotel and restaurant was evacuated from the building, including dozens of people attending an antique show in the ballroom where the overheated power cord was found, he said.

Fire put down at Moscow hotel


A fire at the Sputnik Hotel in southwestern Moscow was put down within 30 minutes on Friday, a city fire department source told Itar-Tass.

``There is still much smoke inside the hotel building, and guests and employees will come back only after the building has been ventilated,'' he said.

The fire alarm sounded at 7:30 p.m. ``Furniture and personal belongings caught fire in a room at the 14th floor of the 16-story building,'' the source said.

There are several theories of the fire, including carelessness and a short circuit.

The Sputnik Hotel for 500 guests was built in 1997 in a prestigious city area for the Central Council of Soviet Trade Unions. It was receiving trade union delegations from abroad until the nearly 1990s, and then retargeted for business tourism. The upper floors of the hotel have a view of Moscow University and the Luzhniki central stadium.


Flames engulf The Swan Hotel
Tue, May 09 2006
One officer injured as fire fighters battled the Streatley blaze for nearly 12 hours

FIRE engulfed the newly refurbished spa at The Swan Hotel in Streatley last night (Monday) injuring one Oxfordshire fire fighter.
Dozens of emergency vehicles swarmed around the village as fire fighters battled to contain the blaze for nearly 12 hours.
Officers were at risk from sulphuric acid and bromine used to treat the water in the swimming pool.
51-year-old fire fighter Bob Thomas of Watlington was kept in hospital overnight after part of the hotel roof collapsed on him, breaking both of his legs and an ankle. He is in a stable condition.

All the hotel’s customers were safely evacuated and relocated to other local hotels.
The 45-bedroom Nike Group hotel which overlooks the Thames only recently re-opened its Roman-themed “Venus Spa”.
The fire started at 4.27pm in the plant room of the swimming pool. Around 60 fire fighters attended the scene.
One onlooker from Goring who asked not to be named said she saw the smoke billowing from the Thames Road as she headed to the spa for a pedicure.
She said: “They had only just done it up and it was absolutely gorgeous. It’s such a shame.”
Teenager Alice Spencer, whose friend works in the hotel, had travelled from Henley to make sure she was safe and was relieved to find her unharmed.
Ten fire engines and two aerial appliances from both Berkshire and Oxfordshire fire services attended.
Senior Divisional Officer Paul Southern said the fire was contained within the plant room thanks in part to safety features installed in the building.
Ellie Gray, spokeswoman for the Royal Berkshire Fire Service said that fire fighters used thermal imaging to locate heat spots in the roof and by 3.30am the operation was scaled down to one pump.
Royal Berkshire officers are still at the hotel this morning carrying out investigations into how the fire started.
The hotel has refused to comment at this stage.

For footage from the scene, as well as an interview with Inspector Jo Cooper, click on the video link at the top of this story

Guests Evacuate Hotel After Fire Alarms Sound

May 10, 2006

SEATTLE -- Huddled in robes and pajamas, hundreds of Seattle Hilton hotel guests spent part of the morning on the street early Wednesday.

An early morning fire alarm woke guests up just before 3 a.m.

"I heard the alarm and thought it was a fire drill, but I smelled smoke in the corridor of the 14th floor. I was still awake enough to not take the elevator and walked 13 floors down," said Frits Bruijn, a hotel guest.

Seattle firefighters said the fire was in a dryer on the eighth floor. It was put out quickly and no one was hurt.

Guests said the evacuation was orderly.

"I got up and got dressed and my wife said, 'Hurry up,' so I put my shoes on and came down the stairs. There was no panic. People were very well organized," said Rich Stevens, a hotel guest.

Guests went back inside just before 4 a.m.


Plaza Hotel Fire

May 12, 2006
Sparks from a construction worker's torch started a minor fire at the Plaza Hotel, the Fire Department said. One firefighter was slightly hurt, Battalion Chief Jack Taddeo said.

The Plaza, which closed last year, has been undergoing extensive renovations that will turn the 99-year-old building into a condominium with a far smaller hotel.

Chief Taddeo, of Battalion 8, said that the fire started when a construction worker using a torch on the second floor let sparks fall to a confined space — perhaps an airshaft or a pipe conduit — on the first floor.

The sparks ignited debris and caused "a large amount of smoke" but little in the way of flames, he said.

Chief Taddeo said the injured firefighter, who was not identified, had minor "muscle injuries" and that no one else was hurt.

The Fire Department said the blaze was reported at 1:27 p.m. Deputy Chief Thomas M. Jensen said 50 firefighters from eight units were sent to the Plaza.

Lloyd Kaplan, a spokesman for the Plaza, said that the hotel had no damage and that construction work resumed within an hour..


13 May 2006

NEW YORK -- A small fire at The Plaza on Friday was contained to the lobby of the storied hotel overlooking Central Park and currently undergoing renovation.

The fire, which produced heavy smoke, was caused by a worker's blowtorch, Deputy Fire Chief Thomas Jensen said outside the Fifth Avenue hotel.

``It was a small, smoky fire caused by a construction worker's torch working on demolition work,'' said Jensen.

It was at least the second small fire at the hotel since renovations began in April.

Jensen said the worker was on an upper floor when a spark from his torch somehow made its way down _possibly through a shaft _ and started the fire in the lobby. There was no significant damage.

``All of a sudden there was a tremendous amount of smoke,'' said Paul Reitz, a site consulting engineer.

Twelve units and 60 firefighters responded to the Beaux Arts building at 1:27 p.m. ``They knocked down the main body of the fire,'' and it was brought under control at 2:10 p.m., said department spokesman Jim Long.

One firefighter was taken to the hospital after falling several feet down a construction hole, said Jensen. The injury did not appear to be serious, he said.

In February, another worker using a blowtorch accidentally set a stairwell on fire at the Plaza; the fire did not spread and no one was hurt.

The hotel has been closed since April 2005 for renovations and partial conversion to condominiums.

Elad Properties paid $675 million for the fabulous but fraying 20-story landmark in the summer of 2004.

Since its 1907 opening, the 19-story landmark building has become an integral part of New York City and its lore. The Beatles stayed there in 1964 while in the city for ``The Ed Sullivan Show,'' Trump used to own it, and author Kay Thompson's famous children's books on Eloise are set there.

In March, contents of The Plaza were auctioned off in preparation for the renovations. Around 1,000 items from the grand hotel's past, from its red bellmen's uniforms, to the gilded metal chairs from its legendary ballroom, were offered for sale.

Historic Olympic Peninsula hotel destroyed by fire

Monday, May 15, 2006

QUILCENE, Jefferson County — An historic inn on the Olympic Peninsula that advertised itself as a "back door" into the Olympic Mountains was destroyed by fire midday today.

Five fire departments and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department responded to the fire which was reported at 12:04 p.m.

There was no damage estimate immediately available, but officials said the building appeared to be a total loss.

The landmark structure had been evacuated and there were no reports of injuries, according to sheriff's spokesman Luke Bogues.

The Quilcene Hotel was built in 1917 as an inn for loggers and hunters.

According to a website, the all-wood structure became famous for its Saturday night fried chicken dinners

Updated at

Investigators probing Quilcene Hotel fire focus on clothes dryer

QUILCENE -- Investigators examining the smoldering remains of the Quilcene Hotel on Tuesday think that the fire originated in the lint trap of a clothes dryer.

Two Seattle-based special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Dane Whetsel and David Johnsen, joined Quilcene Fire Chief Bob Wilson and East Jefferson Fire-Rescue Chief Mike Mingee in gathering information on the midday Monday fire that destroyed the 1917 hotel in less than one hour.

Investigators spent most of Tuesday on the west side of the site where the clothes dryer sat in a utility room.

They analyzed the charred appliance and took photos.

``We're trying to re-create what happened in that corner of the building,'' said Wilson.

``On the preliminary investigation, we're leaning toward the dryer lint trap. But the investigation is still ongoing.''

The investigators discounted an eyewitness' report Monday that a trash bin was on fire just before the blaze broke out in the two-story, wooden hotel.

Afternoon probe

The investigators worked methodically throughout the afternoon, shoveling ashes and pouring them slowly on to the ground like a gold miner and his pan, so as not to miss a key piece of evidence.

More water might not have stopped Quilcene blaze

The towering, voracious fire that consumed the historic Quilcene Hotel would probably have been unstoppable even if there had been quicker access to more water, Quilcene Fire Chief Bob Wilson said Tuesday.

The fire started sometime around noon on Monday. Co-owner Kathleen Emmerson heard a noise in her kitchen and opened the door to see the room filled with smoke. She fled with their dog and called 911, said her husband, Rick Emmerson.

He said there were no guests inside.

Wilson said he and Quilcene firefighter Kevin Croft arrived just minutes after the first call from the county’s emergency dispatch center.

“We saw the smoke and we were in the engine before the tone came out,” Wilson said.

They arrived with 1,000 gallons of water, which he said was hardly enough to control the rapidly spreading fire. They used a hose to try containing it to one corner of the building, but the two-story structure was quickly engulfed in flames.

Wilson said the wooden structure – built in 1917 – was so flammable that “you’re not going to stop it once it gets a hold.”

Several more of Wilson’s Fire District 2 (Quilcene/Dabob) volunteers arrived minutes after he did, and then volunteers from other districts began arriving steadily. It was nearly 10 minutes before a tanker carrying an additional 3,000 gallons of water arrived, he noted.

One group of firefighters trained a hose on the towering flames. A superior told them to save the water.

So the firefighters went on the defensive, soaking nearby homes and the hotel’s guest cottage to keep those from catching fire as they were pounded by intense heat. Wilson estimated the fire’s temperature at 1,500 degrees – hot enough, he said, to ignite buildings from a distance.

Between 35 and 40 firefighters from five fire districts (Quilcene, East Jefferson, Brinnon, Port Ludlow and Discovery Bay) responded and used between 20,000 and 30,000 gallons of water, officials said. No other structures burned.

The cause of the fire, which Puget Sound Energy officials said knocked out electrical power for 966 customers, remains under investigation. One witness said he had seen a fire in a dumpster behind the hotel send flames licking up the back of the building.

Wilson hoped an arson investigation team would finish its work Tuesday, but he said it could be as long as a month before he can publish a final report.

Devastating loss

Seattle TV news helicopters circled overhead as the fire spewed black smoke. Dozens of residents stood and watched the building burn.

Hotel co-owner Rick Emmerson was among them.

“I knew once it started there was no way to put it out,” he said, shaking his head. “That was fast.”

Emmerson said he and his wife, Kathleen, had been filling the hotel with antique furniture since buying it six years ago.

“We were getting a pretty nice collection going,” he said.

They lived in the hotel, and their clothing and personal belongings were inside. Emmerson said they’d now live in the guest cottage.

Some people have already stopped by to inquire about setting up an account for donations for the Emmersons at the U.S. Bank in Quilcene, a bank representative said Tuesday.

Lifelong Quilcene resident Sandy Oen was saddened by the hotel’s destruction. Oen, standing a hundred yards from the fire, said he was close to Ray and Virginia Corley, who bought the hotel in 1947. He used to fix their car at his garage in the late 1950s, he said.

“It’s been here all my life. It’s been here since I was a little boy,” he said. “That’s going back. Real sad to see it go.”

Connie Gallant watched as the fire slowly shrank. She said the hotel was a beloved community fixture.

“It’s akin to Aldrich’s in Port Townsend – what it meant to the community,” Gallant said.

Monday’s fire is certainly the largest the county has seen since the August 2003 Aldrich’s market fire, in which 50 firefighters used more than 750,000 gallons of water to keep it from spreading.

Wilson said this was the largest fire he had seen in Quilcene in roughly 20 years.

No hydrants

There is no public water system in Quilcene, so there are no fire hydrants. A $430,000 public water project now planned includes five hydrants, said Jefferson County Public Utilities District Manager Jim Parker.

He said one would be installed just a block from the Quilcene Hotel site. Lydel Construction Inc. of Poulsbo will likely begin work in June and should finish the project in 90 days, Parker said.

Chief Wilson said having a hydrant there might have helped some, but that the building’s age and structure largely determined its fate.

Quilcene Hotel fire loss put at $750,000

QUILCENE -- Although not all the damages have been assessed in Monday's fire that destroyed the 89-year-old Quilcene Hotel, Fire Chief Bob Wilson on Wednesday estimated that the loss totals about $750,000.

The owners, Rick and Kathleen Emmerson, had spent the six years they owned the historic hotel by filling it with antique furniture and items, and renovating the interior.

Kathleen Emmerson said Tuesday that material or monetary losses do not compare to the sentimental losses such as a scrapbook of mementos of their daughter's youth, and a lifetime of poetry Kathleen had written and was planning to try to get published.

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