The Days Inn on Orange Avenue was almost ready to reopen after months of extensive renovations when a fire broke out which was unfortunately one of the bigger ones in recent memory in the Roanoke area. It was “the biggest since the one a couple years ago on McClanahan at the Dialysis Center,” according to Tiffany Bradbury, Fire prevention specialist at Roanoke Fire-EMS.
Firefighting personnel from all over the valley responded to the Days Inn fire which took about three hours to get under control. The hotel was not occupied other than with a handful of employees who were there to oversee the renovations. That may have been a factor in the fire going unnoticed until it became more extensive. Bradbury said 59 firefighters were on the scene along with equipment including fire engines, ladder trucks, and ambulances, along with the Roanoke County “air truck” on hand to keep a steady supply of air to the firefighters.
Bradbury explained that “allows us to fill our bottles – the tanks the firefighters wear have about 20 minutes of air in each bottle so when you see a man at the top of the ladder in all that smoke, he needs the air replaced frequently.”
The event mobilized personnel all over the valley – when that many firefighters are out battling a blaze, workers are needed to come man the stations until they return. The cause of the fire is yet to be determined but that may take a few days, according to Bradbury.
She described the scene, saying “you saw very little flame; there was tons of heavy smoke. The fire jumped from room to room behind the walls. They guys were trying their best to cut it off.” Despite the extensive damage, Bradbury pointed out that at the end of the day “our goal is for everyone to go home [safely]” which thankfully they did. – By Cheryl Hodges