Putting luggage and clothing up against a wall heater that caused a damaging fire several years ago at the Newport Econolodge happened again Saturday morning. This time at the south end of the building.
Newport Fire Chief Rob Murphy says guests of the motel placed luggage and clothing up against their space heater where it smoldered and finally ignited into flame. The fire consumed the wall board and was making a B-line for the window. But unlike several years ago, the fire didn’t quite get there. Firefighters were already in their trucks on a work detail in South Beach and only had to jump the bridge to be there in about three minutes. Chief Murphy arrived on scene right behind them where they proceeded to knock the fire very quickly. Chief Murphy said the guests lost their belongings and there was fire and smoke damage throughout the unit. But again, it could have been a lot worse had the fire had more of a head start.
Chief Murphy says this is yet another call to the public to be aware of space heaters and of their capacity to spontaneously combust materials leaning near or up against them. He adds that just because a heater’s thermostat is set all the way down, it doesn’t mean it won’t come on when room temperatures drop too low. The lowest setting does not mean the heater is off. Many heaters will come on when the room temperature falls below a certain level. So a motel or hotel guest could turn the thermostat all the way down, go off for a day trip, and if there was any luggage or clothes near or up against the heater, they could arrive back at the motel to NO motel.
Always, always always store luggage and clothes away from heater vents, even if you have to pile them on the bed. At least you’ll have your stuff at the end of the day as well as a place to sleep.
Report of a motel room fire at 606 SW Coast Highway. Back wall of the Econolodge is on fire.
Heavy smoke coming from back wall. The building is evacuated. The Econolodge had a fire several years ago that was traced to luggage and clothing pushed up against a wall heater.
Ladder Fire Truck is enroute.
Fire knocked down. Starting mop up.