OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Fire whipped by strong winds
did $1million worth of damage to a west Oklahoma City
No one was seriously
injured in the fire, but 16 rooms at the Lexington
Hotel Suites were destroyed and 32 other rooms
on two lower floors received heavy smoke and
Fire Maj. Brian Stanaland said
firefighters found one room engulfed in flames
and fire shooting through the roof when they
arrived at 10:40 a.m. He said several things
made the fire tough to fight.
''We had about 35- to 40-mile-per-hour
winds blowing straight from the north,'' Stanaland
said. ''And having to go up three stories makes
it more difficult. You've got to pull up more
line that way.''
The blaze also caused Thursday
night's production of ''My Fair Lady'' at the
Civic Center to be canceled because the cast
and crew of the national tour were staying in
the hotel. The show will go on Friday through
Sunday as scheduled.
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Libby First, a ''My Fair Lady'' production company spokeswoman,
said a few cast and crew members lost all their belongings
in the fire.
''The rest of the cast and crew suffered some smoke and
water damage to some of their things,'' First said. ''They
have already found other hotel accommodations.''
Rudy Ortiz, a bus driver from Albuquerque, N.M., was resting
in the room directly beneath the unit where the fire is
believed to have started.
''I was just lying down, and all of a sudden I smelled
this bad smell, a burning smell,'' said Ortiz, 42, ''Right
after that, they started knocking on my door, telling me
to get out.''
Stanaland said the hotel's wing was connected to two others
by a common attic and there was a danger of the blaze spreading
to the rest of the building.
Part of the hotel's ceiling fell on eight firefighters
and two received minor burns. A third firefighter was sickened
by fumes from burning plastic pipe.
Stanaland said the fire apparently was started by a child
playing with either matches or a cigarette lighter.
There was no sprinkler system in the damaged portion of
the hotel, he said.
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