Guests seen jumping from balconies of burning hotel, fire marshal says; 3 hurt
CONWAY, New Hampshire (WMUR) — Firefighters battled a large fire Saturday at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort in North Conway.
The New Hampshire State Fire Marshal’s Office said they responded to the scene on White Mountain Highway.
Guests were seen jumping from upper-level to lower-level balconies before safely escaping on the ground, according to the New Hampshire Dept. of Safety.
Two firefighters and one civilian were treated at the scene for injuries that are not life-threatening, according to the department. They were sent to Memorial Hospital as a precaution.
The department said there are no reports at this time of any unaccounted for guests.
Evacuees were offered to stay at a nearby resort, according to the Department of Safety.
The North Conway Fire Department responded to a 2:47 p.m. call reporting a fire at the resort.
The first crews said they saw “heavy fire and smoke pouring” from where patrons were evacuating on the third floor in the south wing of the building.
Firefighters said strong wind gusts “challenged” them as they took down the fire.
Conway Fire Chief Steve Solomon said 75 rooms were burned off of the hotel, and part of the structure could collapse.
“It’s a calculated risk,” Solomon said. “We have to get the fire extinguished, so we weigh what we are able to do to extinguish the fire versus the risk of doing it.”
Red Jacket released a statement about the fire Saturday afternoon:
“At this time, the North Conway Fire Department and area partners are working to extinguish the flames,” said Laura Knudsen. “Guest safety remains our utmost focus as we continue to work closely with emergency responders.”
Guest Trish Laraja said she is glad she and her son are safe.
“I didn’t hear a smoke alarm or anything,” Laraja said. “I just kept hearing people say they’re evacuating.”
Loris Basmagin, of North Conway, said this is a loss for the area in many ways.
“When I arrived, in one of the rooms, it was just this bright, flaming orange ball of fire,” Basmagin said.
“As soon as we got towards the hotel you could just see smoke everywhere,” said Casey Cote, who is visiting the area.
Witness pictures and videos showed large flames and thick smoke billowing out of the building.
Drone video from above the scene showed the extent of the damage throughout much of the resort.
There is no word on what started the fire.
Solomon said 27 agencies assisted North Conway in fighting the fire.
Part of Route 16 was closed for a few hours, according to Conway police. The road has since reopened, but officials said to avoid the area if possible.
The fire marshal’s office remains on scene as they investigate the fire. Anyone with information can call their office at 603-223-4289.
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