Nighttime fires damage two Truckee-area lodging facilities |

Nighttime fires damage two Truckee-area lodging facilities

Separate and unrelated fires damaged two Truckee-area lodges in the past four days.

Packed at full occupancy Friday night for President’s Day Weekend, Donner Lake Village Resort guests awoke to fire alarms and evacuation requests just after midnight, when a fire burned and seriously damaged four units.

According to Truckee Fire Protection District Fire Marshall Bob Bena, TFPD received the call just before midnight, Friday. Upon arrival, heavy smoke was visible through the eaves and attic of the building and Donner Lake Village managers had begun evacuating guests from their units.

“I would say this was a very serious fire,” Bena said. “Any time you have that many people in a structure during a fire, the danger and severity increases.”

He estimated there were at least 50 guests staying at the resort when the fire broke out.

While the exact cause of the fire is still unknown, it originated in the attic above one of the ground floor units and Bena said the incident was most likely an electrical-related fire.

Truckee firefighters attacked the fire, which was burning within the attic and ceiling walls between upper and lower units, with mutual aid from Donner Summit, Northstar and Squaw Valley fire departments. Fire personnel were at the scene until just before 4 a.m. Saturday.

The rest of the building experienced smoke damage, Bena said. The building is temporarily closed for repairs, however the rest of the resort is open to guests and visitors.

When the fire burned the attic, the integrity of the roof system was lost and will need repair, he said.

Bena said most Donner Lake Village guests were able to get their belongings out of the building undamaged. Most guests were relocated to safe units or lodging in Reno soon after they were evacuated.

“Donner Lake employees and staff did a great job of getting people out in a timely manner and getting guests relocated for the evening,” Bena said. “All in all, things went really well.”

An early Wednesday morning fire in an apartment at the Kingvale Lodge off of Old Highway 40 also caused extensive damage, displacing approximately 15 residents.

According to fire officials, the fire was most likely started by a candle left burning in one of the third story apartments. The incident is still under investigation.

Donner Summit firefighters responded to the lodge just after 2 a.m., during some of the worst weather conditions of the winter, said DSFD Chief Bryce Keller.

The fire was fully involved when personnel arrived on scene, and mutual aid from Northstar Fire, Squaw Valley, North Tahoe and Truckee Fire departments was requested.

All occupants were evacuated from the building and fire suppression efforts were engaged.

A total of 30 firefighters were assembled to help put out the blaze.

“We’re estimating the damage to be $200,000 with a savings of $300,000,” Keller said. “We are very lucky that there were no injuries or fatalities to any firefighters or occupants.”

Firefighters did not finish mop-up until 2 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

During the investigation, DSFD discovered that the building was not adequately stocked with smoke detectors in each room.

“This is a reminder that people need to check their smoke detectors as well as their batteries. If they are lacking, they should contact their local fire agencies,” Keller said.

Other cooperating agencies included Caltrans, Nevada County Sheriff’s Office and the American Red Cross, who has helped displaced residents find temporary shelter with local friends and families and local motels.

Keller said the Nevada County Building Department has declared the building unsafe to occupy and is open to limited access only.

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