Digging through the wreckage of the City Center Motel at 538 Coast Highway has produced two more bodies from the rubble. No gender information came with the announcement. The first two were a man and a woman. That brings the death toll to four. According to Newport Police the discovery of the two additional bodies means they’ve accounted for all guests and employees. There shouldn’t be any more discovered when the search for other clues resumes into what caused the fire.
The latest news release did not contain a cause of the fire. Over the past five or six years, the City Center was known for room heater fires – guests would come in, lean their luggage against the heater vent which was located close to floor level. After a while, the luggage or personal effects would ignite. There was also speculation that this latest fire might have originated in the laundry room – overheated dryer(s)? Dryer fires are common in hotels and motels.
This is a video made a bit after the big flames were knocked down but it shows the size and seriousness of the fire. Video Courtesy of Ed McVea
5:17pm – Two bodies have been found in the rubble on the first floor of what used to be the motel’s center building. One male, one female. Not identified yet.
6:23am – Fire at the City Center Motel on 101 in Newport. Evacuations. Highway 101 is closed. There are detour signs. Be alert for emergency vehicles.
8:49am – Fire is out.
8:40am – From Newport City Hall:
At approximately 5:48 A.M. 9-1-1 received a report of a fire at the City Center Motel, located at 538 SW Coast Highway in Newport. The caller reported that a northeast room was on fire.
A major section of the motel was reported to be fully engulfed in flames. Fire personnel began to evacuate the motel while beginning firefighting operations.
The fire continued to spread and a call went out to all regional fire departments to help. Fire apparatus and personnel from Toledo, Siletz, Depoe Bay, North Lincoln, Seal Rock, Waldport, and Yachats responded to assist.
Fire personnel conducted an initial sweep of the motel and did not find anyone still inside. Three guests were transported to Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport – two with minor injuries. They
were treated and released. The third guest suffered burns and smoke inhalation, and was transported to the Legacy Emmanuel Burn Center in Portland.
Guests at the Days Inn, immediately south of the City Center Motel, were evacuated as the fire spread to portions of that motel.
Temporary shelter for all guests was established at the Newport Armory across Highway 101. The Red Cross also responded to the scene to assist with displaced guests. Highway 101 was closed and traffic diverted around the fire scene. The highway will remain closed for several hours while fire personnel continue to mop up the remnants of the fire.
Due to the amount of water being used to suppress the fire, Newport water customers may notice a brownish tint to the water. City officials say the water is safe to drink. Newport Public Works is monitoring the city’s water and will flush water lines as needed.