On The Job - New York: Multi-Alarm Fire Heavily Damages Plattsburgh Hotel

On Saturday, Nov. 5, 2008, a multiple-alarm fire destroyed nearly half of the Comfort Inn and Suites in the Town of Plattsburgh, NY. At the time of the fire, the building was occupied by approximately 120 people. The two-story building was built in 1988...


On Saturday, Nov. 5, 2008, a multiple-alarm fire destroyed nearly half of the Comfort Inn and Suites in the Town of Plattsburgh, NY. At the time of the fire, the building was occupied by approximately 120 people. The two-story building was built in 1988 of ordinary construction with a lightweight...


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On Saturday, Nov. 5, 2008, a multiple-alarm fire destroyed nearly half of the Comfort Inn and Suites in the Town of Plattsburgh, NY. At the time of the fire, the building was occupied by approximately 120 people. The two-story building was built in 1988 of ordinary construction with a lightweight truss roof. The 100,000-square-foot building contained 112 guest rooms; a Perkins Restaurant and Bakery; Legends Sports Bar and Brew Pub; Court Club health club; Comfort Inn ballroom; and a lobby. The building was equipped with a smoke detector system and a sprinkler system. Fire walls separated the two wings of guest rooms from the rest of the structure.

The District 3 Fire Department was dispatched to a reported fire at the hotel at 12:25 P.M. Engines 351, 352 and 353, all 1,500-gpm pumpers, and Utility Truck 358 responded with 14 firefighters under the command of First Assistant Chief Greg Burnell. Under an automatic mutual aid agreement, three additional departments were dispatched at 12:26. The Morrisonville Fire Department responded with Engine 263, a 1,250-gpm pumper; South Plattsburgh Fire Department sent Engine 321, a 1,250-gpm pumper; and Rescue Hose Number 5 from Plattsburgh responded with Air Trucks 291 and 292.

Upon arrival, firefighters observed heavy smoke emitting from the roof of the lobby and pool areas. Restaurant occupants and hotel guests were still in the building. Most occupants self-evacuated upon fire department orders, but firefighters assisted several occupants to safety. District 3 Tower 359, a 100-foot ladder tower with a 2,000-gpm pump, responded at 12:29.

District 3 Engine 351 was positioned at the rear of the structure. Firefighters placed two 200-foot, 1¾-inch pre-connects into operation in guest rooms on the second floor via the balcony. Crews encountered heavy fire upon entry into this area. This engine was supplied by a 300-foot, four-inch line that was laid by Morrisonville Engine 263. District 3 Engine 352 was positioned at the front of the building in the area of the lobby. Firefighters placed a 200-foot, 1¾-inch pre-connect and a 200-foot, 2½-inch pre-connect into operation in the lobby and pool areas.

Firefighters encountered heavy fire in the ceiling of the pool/sauna area. This engine was supplied by a 700-foot, four-inch line that was laid by South Plattsburgh Engine 321. Tower 359 was positioned at the rear of the restaurant and fed with a 200-foot, five-inch line from Engine 351. Engine 353 was positioned in the parking lot and its crew was assigned to interior firefighting operations. A staging area was established in the parking lot in front of the hotel, 150 feet away.

In addition to fire attack operations, crews were needed to search all of the guest rooms to make sure everyone had evacuated the building. This was accomplished in 45 minutes by District 3 and mutual aid firefighters.

Extra Alarms

Burnell requested a second alarm at 12:30 P.M. The City of Plattsburgh Fire Department responded with Engine 282, a 1,500-gpm pumper. This engine was positioned at the rear of the building and placed two 150-foot, 1¾-inch lines into operation for fire attack on the second floor in guest rooms. At 12:33, Burnell called for a third alarm. The Beekmantown Fire Department responded with Engine 128, a 1,500-gpm pumper, and the Cumberland Head Fire Department responded with Engine 181, a 1,250-gpm pumper. Cumberland Head Engine 181 laid a 400-foot, four-inch line to supply Plattsburgh Engine 282. Burnell requested a fourth alarm at 12:41. City of Plattsburgh Tower 289, a 102-foot tower ladder with a 1,500-gpm pump, responded. This unit was positioned at the front of the structure in the middle of the building and set up for aerial master stream operations.

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