Motel fire quickly contained |

Motel fire quickly contained

William Ferchland

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Construction workers Scott McLeod, left, and John Mitchell board up a room that was damaged in a fire at Secret Honeymooner Inn on Monday night.

High winds and a nearby building provided the potential for a fire at Secrets Honeymooners Inn to spread, but firefighters were able to extinguish the flames reportedly caused by a soldering iron.

The fire was reported at 8:44 p.m. Monday at the inn along Park Avenue. Four engines, a ladder truck and nearly 20 firefighters responded to the scene, according to South Lake Tahoe firefighters.

No one was injured. The inn was being remodeled, so the rooms were empty and gutted. Originating in a first-story room, flames went through the ceiling and caused damage to four rooms.

“It had some potential to go really big,” said South Lake Tahoe fire Battalion Chief Russ Dow.

Inn manager Sarah Ewen said she was aware of the fire when smoke detectors started blaring. The fire melted a spa and window, she said.

The fire will close the inn, but Ewen hopes to reopen before New Year’s Eve. Firefighters estimated the total damage at $30,000.

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Ewen credited firefighters for a quick response.

“The firemen, they were excellent,” she said. “They did a good job.”

About 1,600 gallons of water were thrown at the fire, which is believed to have been an accident, said Fire Marshall Ray Zachau. The inn didn’t have a sprinkler system, but since it was built before the requirement was enacted, it wasn’t in violation, Zachau said.

There was no drywall separating the rooms so the fire was free to roam, Dow said.

Flames went through the roof, said Dow, who was worried a nearby motel and field could catch fire. But initial responding units efficiently attacked the flames, he said.

Since the fire was near Stateline, Tahoe-Douglas Fire Protection District units responded. Lake Valley Fire Protection District units helped cover the city.