Investigators say Hotel Elkton fire was accidental - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Investigators say Hotel Elkton fire was accidental

Crews respond to Elkton Hotel Crews respond to Elkton Hotel
Elkton Hotel Elkton Hotel
A firefighter helps an occupant down the ladder A firefighter helps an occupant down the ladder
Firefighters rescue building occupants Firefighters rescue building occupants
Crews respond to Elkton Hotel fire Crews respond to Elkton Hotel fire
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) - Firefighters responded to the Hotel Elkton Friday evening for smoke coming out of the building, but it quickly escalated to a five-alarm fire.

Quincy Fire Department investigators say the fire was contained to one apartment, which is a total loss.  Several other parts of the building sustained heavy water damage.  Investigators say the fire was accidental, but they may never know the exact cause because of the significant damage to the apartment.

Chief Joe Henning says the fire originated on the fourth floor.

"We do have quite a bit of damage we actually have fire burn through the hole in one spot," Henning said.

"We didn't see any smoke prior to the fire department getting there and then 10, 15 minutes, they broke out on the fourth floor," building owner Mark Neiswender said. 

Firefighters helped evacuate around 25 people trapped inside using a ladder truck. Some people were rescued from the roof when they couldn't get out. The Patio restaurant was evacuated as well. Employees were pulling out things from the restaurant in the rear of the building.

"We've got some elderly people here," Neiswender said. "No wheelchairs, but some in walkers. We were just running around making sure they were out."

Flames could quickly be seen coming from the north side of the building.

Quincy Police Sgt. Mark Folkenroth says the report first came in for smoke coming from the five-story building around 4:47 p.m.

Dozens of people stood around watching the fire as crews fought the blaze.
"On the fourth floor we were just making our way down the hallway busting open doors and crawling the residents down the hallway to the stairwell," Quincy Fire Captain Bernie Vahlkamp said.

For the 25 people trapped on the upper levels it was a scary situation.

"I was just watching TV not cooking or anything then I saw some smoke and it seemed like it was coming from nowhere," Craig Banks said.

"The smoke was too thick to even get back down the stairwell," Lance Aymond said. "Even the fire escape is was too thick."

4th Street, from Jersey to Maine streets, and Jersey, from 4th to 5th streets, were blocked while crews responded, but opened later that evening.

The District says the building was built in 1924 and was formerly called Hotel Elk. The Hotel Elkton sits less than one block from the site of the former Newcomb Hotel, which burned last September.

When asked if he plans to repair or rebuild, Neiswender says absolutely.

"We'll put it back together," Neiswender said. "I can't asses the damage. A lot of water damage, I know. The Patio was just raining. I don't know what the damage is up to the fourth floor, but we'll just wait and see. We've owned it since 1949. My father and mother opened the patio in 1959, so we'll be here."

The Red Cross fed the tenants on the scene and the Quincy Senior Center was set up to house 36 people for the night who were forced out by the fire.

One person was taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

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