Red Jacket Resort had no fire sprinklers in the section that burned

Firefighters said there were no working sprinklers in the south wing of the Red Jacket Resort in North Conway, where the fire destroyed 75 rooms and displaced 155 guests on Saturday afternoon.

Steel and other debris from the burnt-out south wing of the main building was removed from the hotel in the early hours of Sunday morning.

“It was too dangerous to put anyone inside that building. It was too structurally compromised at the time, so we had to aggressively use heavy equipment to keep the fire from spreading to the building. rest of the building,” North Conway Fire Chief Pat Preece said. a press briefing on Sunday afternoon.

Preese said the rest of the main building is “super strong,” but with heavy water and smoke damage. It will probably need to be revised.

Red Jacket general manager Justin Grimes said the entire resort will be closed for the foreseeable future. Customers who have booked are contacted.

South wing of the main Red Jacket building after a fire on 04/30/22

South wing of the main Red Jacket building after a fire 4/30/22 (Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid)

No functional watering system

Preece said the south wing was built in the 1970s before sprinklers were needed and were not present. Smoke detectors were working when Preece arrived at the fire.

“I saw the alarm transmission. It was activated. When I arrived on the scene, the horn strobes were working. Shortly after we arrived on the scene, the south wing horn strobes went off. are off. The fire burned out a circuit or something but they were working initially,” Preese said.

The fire burned a main transmission line connected to the south end of the hotel, causing a short circuit. Electricity was cut in North Conway for some time after the fire was brought under control.

According to Preese, two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion and heat fatigue. Two guests were treated for diabetes and shortness of breath. All were treated at Memorial Hospital as a precaution.

South wing of the main Red Jacket building after a fire on 04/30/22

South wing of the main Red Jacket building after a fire on 04/30/22

Investigation of a cause of the fire

State Fire Marshal Sean P. Toomey said it will be some time before the cause of the fire is determined through investigations. All possibilities are on the table, including a rumored transformer fire. Because the south wing was demolished, there will be little physical evidence to examine.

“It will take some time before we have definitive information. Based on the loss, it will very much depend on witness statements and information from people who were here at the hotel due to the extent of the damage” , Toomey said.

The hotel has provided a guest list to the Office of the Fire Marshal.

Toomey asked anyone with information about the fire to call his office at 603-223-4289.

Grimes thanked the community for coming together with donations of clothing and other essentials for the displaced guests. Some were evacuated wearing nothing more than bathing suits after being inside the Kahuna Laguna water park

“We are truly touched by the spirit of generosity in its community. The hotels and rental owners have come to the aid of our guests and staff with accommodation, a hot meal, clothing and so much more. essential items we take for granted,” Grimes said.

South wing of the main Red Jacket building after a fire on 04/30/22

South wing of the main Red Jacket building after a fire 4/30/22 (Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid)

Take care of employees, guests

Grimes said hotel ownership is working to take care of employees who may be facing a long period without work. He said management had made a commitment to its staff to “handle this the right way”.

He also praised staff for getting guests out of buildings and arranging buses to take them to other resorts in the area.

Preese said hotel staff have done a terrific job of caring for guests who are stranded at the moment because they lost their keys and belongings in the fire.

“The Red Jacket does a fabulous job. They have made arrangements with towing companies. They have made arrangements with locksmiths. They look after their guests as best they can and what resource they can pull from, they pull them to make sure those guests get back safely,” Preese said.

Senator Maggie Hassan in a tweet Sunday afternoon thanked North Conway and all the first responders to the fire. She wished a speedy recovery to the injured.

Contact journalist Dan Alexander at [email protected] or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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