Motel fire contained to one room

Staff

Fire safety precautions and standards are being credited with ensuring that a Wednesday afternoon fire at the local Bayview Motel was isolated to one room instead of causing more damage.
The Fort Frances Fire and Rescue Service arrived on scene to find black smoke coming from a couple of windows in the main level of the four-plex after receiving a call around 1:30 p.m. this past Wednesday.
The fire was under control “very quickly,” within a few minutes of arriving on the scene, said local fireman and fire safety specialist, Wayne Riches.
There were no injuries—as the unit was unoccupied and a tenant in the adjacent room evacuated upon hearing the smoke alarm.
The local fire department remained on scene until around 4 p.m.
“We actually ended up having to ventilate—we took out the picture window because there was lots of heat. So we had a quick knock down which was good.”
The cause of the fire has been deemed accidental.
“It started in the floor and burnt up through the floor,” Riches noted, with the fire was “pretty much isolated” to the northeast corner of the room as well as the under floor spacing.
“So it was contained to the room, lots of heat damage, minor structural damage, and very little water use,” he said about the extent of the damage.
Riches noted that the fire being contained to just the one room comes as both local hotel owners and the fire department have been working over the last couple of years to “retrofit” older hotel buildings, so they’re up to date with fire code standards.
These standards include fire detection, and especially “fire separation”—as a lot of older hotels used to just have wall board, and under this “retrofit” they’ve had hotels put gyprock instead, he explained.
“And in this case the owner here has done lots of work, and is still doing lots of work on the hotel,” Riches said. “[The room where the fire was had] been totally was all gyprocked and totally brought up to code.”
“And in this case it probably saved the whole building.”
The ceiling underneath for the basement was also gyprocked, Riches noted, and the fire in the floor was burning for a little while and almost starved of oxygen until it burnt through the floor.
“If there had of been no gyprock on the underpart of the ceiling it would have been all open floor joist, and we would have had a different situation.”
“I’ve got to commend the hotel owners for working with us,” Riches added, saying that incidents like this reinforces why the fire department is out there and working to get hotels up to this standard.
“In this case, it’s probably tens of thousands potentially in damage now where it could have been hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he said.