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Fire hits Williamsburg hotel
No one was injured; officials don't know extent of the damage

 

WILLIAMSBURG -- A construction fire caused an undetermined amount of damage yesterday at the Williamsburg Lodge.

No one was injured in the blaze, which broke out shortly before 11 a.m. in a portion of the famous hotel undergoing renovation, officials said.

Up to a dozen firefighters, however, underwent decontamination after being exposed to asbestos while battling the fire.

Jodi Miller, assistant city manager in Williamsburg, said the firefighters all were wearing protective clothing and breathing air from tanks when they were exposed, so there was no fear they had inhaled any of the toxic asbestos particles. She said the decontamination involved thoroughly hosing off their uniforms and protective clothing.


The fire apparently started as a worker used a torch to cut stainless steel ductwork near the hotel's kitchen, said Sophia Hart, a spokeswoman for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Grease in the ductwork may have ignited, she said.

The fire generated large amounts of smoke as firefighters arrived from Williamsburg and James City and York counties. By early afternoon, the smoke was no longer visible.

The fire was declared under control shortly before 1 p.m. and extinguished about the same time.

Part of the lodge has been demolished in a renovation and expansion project that will include new construction. One newer wing of the hotel, not attached to the area under construction and now called Tazewell Hall, had guests in it.

Hart said the guests were not evacuated. Nearby, tourists strolled as on any other pleasant day in the historic area.

Monetary estimates of damage were not immediately available. Officials said the structure suffered some water damage, but investigators had not determined the extent of any structural damage.

The renovation work was being done by Clancy & Theys Construction Co., a Raleigh, N.C.-based company with a division office in Newport News.

The renovated Williamsburg Lodge had been scheduled to reopen in 2006.


 
 
 
   
 
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