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Fire damages wing of Holiday Inn and SuitesTell North Platte what you think
Photo by George Lauby
The north side of the Holiday Inn complex. The damaged part is marked by the arrow. (click or tap on photo to enlarge)
Photo by George Lauby
The sky is visible through the upstairs windows, where the roof collapsed.
Courtesy Photo­Image
A third floor room, open to the sky, in the most heavily damaged area.

Fire damaged the upper floors near the west end of North Platte’s Holiday Inn and Suites Tuesday in the early morning darkness.

The North Platte Fire Department received the 911 call about 3:45 a.m.  Firefighters had to work in the cramped attic above the third floor. It took about three hours to put the fire out, Fire Marshall George Lewis said.

No one was injured in the blaze.

Luckily, the damage was confined to rooms in the west wing of the hotel, all of which were unoccupied because they were under renovation. Even the furniture in those rooms had been previously removed, motel spokeswoman Clarine Eickhoff said.

“If we had to have a fire, the best scenario would be there,” she said.

Eickhoff said the entire east end of the building was undamaged, including both the conference rooms on the ground floor and guest rooms upstairs. Also, a new entrance that is under construction near the middle of the complex was undamaged.

“All meetings, weddings and conferences will be held as scheduled,” Eickhoff said. “Everything on the books will go ahead as planned.”

Lewis said firefighters went up through the stairwell and found the blaze in the attic above the third-floor rooms.

The automatic sprinklers were no help, because they were below the flames in the ceilings, he said.

Lewis said the crew battled the heat, darkness and the cramped space. At one point, a section of the roof collapsed, but the crew was not underneath it at the time.

The department’s big ladder truck was extended over the roof, so firefighters could ventilate the roof and reduce the lateral spread of flames.

Lewis said two construction practices helped contain the blaze, including a “fire stop” of two layers of drywall in the ceilings, as well as draft prevention for every 3,000 square-feet.

He said firefighters remained on the scene until 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Lewis said the fire was apparently caused by a wire that got hot inside a wall.

Eickhoff said it will take considerable evaluation before that part of the hotel can be rebuilt. Meanwhile, the other wing of the hotel, far from the blaze, is open for business.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 3/14/2017
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