UPDATE-3: Guests were slow to react to hotel fire - WBAY

UPDATE-3: Guests were slow to react to hotel fire

Fond du Lac - Two people were transported to the hospital during a fire that left a Fond du Lac hotel uninhabitable for now.

The fire at Comfort Inn on Holiday Lane started just after 9 o'clock Friday morning. A quick response by firefighters and hotel staff most likely helped to save lives.

In the aftermath of the fire, the damage appears minimal and isolated to one area. But according to the Fond du Lac Fire Department, the flames were roaring when they arrived. 

"The fire started on the first floor exterior of the building. Fire lapped up the first floor to the second floor to the attic space into the hotel area," Assistant Fire Chief Steve Beer described.

All 78 rooms of the hotel were occupied Thursday night. The fire department called in off-duty personnel and also neighboring fire department to make sure everyone was out of the building and offer mutual aid.

"It was very labor intensive. It took a lot of personnel to make sure we had every room checked," Beers said. "We worked with management to make sure we had a listing of every room and seasonal people, too."

One hotel employee told us she was picking up from the breakfast rush inside the hotel when the fire alarms started to go off. 

"I ran outside I saw a lot of smoke. I came back in and said, 'Bradley, the building is on fire!' and he goes start getting everyone out," Judy Moore said.

Guests said they heard the fire alarms but didn't think anything of it.

"I work on a college campus in Point, and the fire alarm, I'm used to hearing fire alarms and I was figuring it was probably a false alarm or they're testing or something," Brian Kersey from Stevens Point said.

It wasn't until employees were running up and down the halls, knocking on doors, that they realized something was wrong.

"Looked in the hallway and sure enough there was about a foot of smoke coming down from the ceiling area, nd so we just grabbed our wallet, she grabbed her purse and we got out of there," Kersey said.

An employee and a guest were being treated for smoke inhalation.

Firefighters had the blaze under control in about 45 minutes, but by then there was considerable damage to the exterior of the building and the overhang of the pool area, while smoke spread throughout the interior of the hotel. Firefighters also had to cut holes in the roof to ventilate the fire.

Guests were allowed in early Friday afternoon to retrieve their belongings but will have to stay somewhere else.

Cleaning crews are already working to get the hotel back in operation.

What started the fire isn't known yet, but officials say it appears to have started by an exit door where a garbage can is located.

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