Fire causes evacuation
of Fairhaven motel
June 18, 2007 6:00 AM
FAIRHAVEN— Fire broke out in a second-floor
room at the Holiday Inn Express in Fairhaven on Saturday
night, triggering smoke alarms and forcing the evacuation
of the fully booked hotel.
A swift response from the Fairhaven Fire Department
confined the blaze to a single room and there were
no injuries, officials said.
Two engines and a ladder truck were dispatched to
the scene along with an ambulance. The Mattapoisett
and Acushnet fire departments provided mutual aid
while Fairhaven firefighters were fought the fire.
"There was heavy smoke coming from the north
side of the building when we arrived," Fairhaven
Fire Department public information officer Wayne Oliveira
told the Standard-Times."
"The hallway was pretty charged up with smoke,
so we wanted to be sure we had everybody off the fire
Hotel proprietor George Walker of Marion was full
of praise for the public safety officers.
"I want to applaud the police and firefighters.
They went above and beyond. To respond within 2 minutes
and to completely evacuate the building within 10
is just remarkable."
The hotel's alarm system is tied in to the fire station,
which helped to cut the response time, he said.
"But the important thing is that nobody was
The cause of the blaze is still under investigation
but it appears that the fire started in a mattress
in Room 237, according to Mr.Oliveira.
"Because it's new construction, the building
is a concrete shell and every room is an independent
unit," he said.
The fire destroyed the room in which it occurred
and there was smoke and water damage in an adjoining
There were conflicting reports about the room's occupancy.
According to Mr. Oliveira, the room appeared to be
vacant as the bathroom was undisturbed and there were
no personal belongings evident. However, hotel staff
at the scene indicated that it had been rented to
a female who was departing on Sunday morning.
Mr. Walker indicated that this room had a door connecting
it to an adjacent room and he believed that might
have led to some confusion.
The state fire marshal and Fairhaven police are investigating.
Guests waited outside for approximately two hours
while the blaze was extinguished, according to Mr.
"The town worked with us," he said. "The
wiring inspector released the rooms and the guests
went back in at 2.10 a.m. We were booked out for Father's
Day weekend and so were all the other hotels in the
area. If the guests had been unable to return to their
rooms they might have had a difficult time finding
somewhere else to stay."