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Villa Motel fire 'does not appear to be suspicious in nature'

Firefighters spent most of the day hitting the fire with water. — Nelson Fire Rescue photo

Nelson Fire Rescue said the cause of the fire Wednesday in the pool area at the Villa Motel, meters north of the Big Orange Bridge, does not appear to be suspicious but remains under investigation.

In a media release Thursday, Nelson Fire Rescue said it was all hands of deck with assistance require from neighbouring Regional District of Central Kootenay Fire Departments, to extinguish the blaze that sent smoke Wednesday morning that could be seen from Nelson.

“The origin of the fire is still under investigation at this time,” Nelson Fire Rescue said.  “Currently the fire does not appear to be suspicious in nature.”

The fire was declared out at 4:02 p.m. with crews continuing to monitor the area for hot spots and work on getting equipment and apparatus back in service.

The initial call came in a 4:55 a.m. with the caller describing flames showing from the pool area extending to the units above.

Nelson Fire Rescue said both on duty members responded immediately with all available additional fire department members responding from home.

As well the automatic mutual aid was initiated with for RDCK halls partners to supply support as there are not fire hydrants in the area of the Villa Motel.

“Upon arrival of the first crew, active fire was observed in pool area and the units above the pool with flames showing from the area between the floors,” Nelson Fire Rescue said.

“The first arriving crew’s primary objective was to ensure that all occupants were out and to prevent the fire from spreading to additional structures.

“The construction of the building and the location of the fire hindered the suppression efforts along with the water supply challenges,” the release added.

“Firefighters were not able to safely access the area above the pool to prevent the fire from travelling through the void space.”

Nelson Fire Rescue said during suppression efforts crews were tasked with assessing Amanda’s restaurant directly downhill from the fire as water was found to entering the restaurant through a crack in the rear wall and was accumulating on one side of the building. 

Nelson Fire Rescue said crews were able to dig a trough to redirect the water around the restaurant.  Crews then went inside to remove as much water as possible in an attempt to limit the damage.

“Due to the ongoing challenges, over multiple hours, with getting water on the fire, additional resources were requested from the RDCK,” the release said. “Firefighters and equipment from multiple departments were dispatched to complement the water shuttle and assist with hose lines for suppression.”

Assistance was also received from the Nelson Police Department to assist with intial support and evacuation of the motel. 

All occupants were safely evacuated.  BC Ambulance Service, Nelson Hydro, Nelson Public Works Department, FortisBC Gas, and Nelson Emergency Management Program also supported the efforts.

In all, 42 City of Nelson and Regional District firefighters responded to the incident with three fire engines, one ladder truck, five tender truck, and two utility vehicles.

One minor injury to a firefighter was reported as a result of this incident.  No other injuries were reported.   

Nelson Fire Rescue would like to acknowledge the cooperation and assistance from the owners and managers of the Villa Motel and Amanda’s Restaurant, as well as thank the motoring public for their patience and cooperation as fire trucks travelled back and forth from the water fill site to the fire.

The Nelson Fire Rescue ladder truck was a key piece of equipment used to battle the fire. — Nelson Fire Rescue photo

Assistance was required from RDCK fire departments to battle the blaze. — The Nelson Daily photo

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