Arson suspected, investigation under way in Alta Hotel fire |

Arson suspected, investigation under way in Alta Hotel fire

An investigation for suspected arson is underway regarding the Jan. 30 fire at the Alta Hotel. Because arson is not a standard investigation, no details could be released, said Truckee Fire Protection District Fire Marshall Bob Bena.

When the first unit arrived on the scene, light smoke was reported showing.

The fire was then located in a non-occupied attic area on the third floor of the building and extinguished.

The occupants who were living in the hotel at the time the fire started were evacuated from the premises until the next day.

The owner of the hotel and her daughter were transported to the hospital as a place to stay for the evening, but were not injured, said TFPD Fire Chief, Mike Terwilliger.

The damages included fire, smoke and water damage to the attic area where the fire originated, the fire report indicated.

However, there was no structural damage, and very minimal damage to the hotel overall, said Terwilliger.

Because the fire started in empty attic space above actual living quarters, and because the hotel had fire alarms, the TFPD was able to respond quickly.

“It was very lucky,” said Terwilliger. “If the fire had had a chance to get going in there pretty good, it would have been a very difficult fire to put out because (the hotel) is an older structure.”

The investigation began due the questions about the fire’s origin.

Approximately an hour after the TFPD arrived on the scene, they received a call for a house fire three houses down from the Alta Hotel.

“We were in the process of talking about our investigation strategy, when the call for (the second fire) came in,” said Terwilliger.

Because the trucks were so close, Terwilliger said they were able to back them right up to the house.

The fire at the house started on the front porch, which was destroyed.

The TFPD was able to extinguish the fire before the interior of the rest of the house was damaged.

There was an occupant in the house at the time of the fire, who suffered possible smoke inhalation injuries.

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