Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Feb. 1, 2023

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Wind-driven fire burns roof of former Red Lion at Quay in Vancouver

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:
3 Photos
A roof fire burns in the former Red Lion at the Quay on Tuesday afternoon. The building was undergoing demolition work when the three-alarm fire began.
A roof fire burns in the former Red Lion at the Quay on Tuesday afternoon. The building was undergoing demolition work when the three-alarm fire began. Mark Bowder, The Columbian Photo Gallery

A wind-driven fire that quickly escalated to two alarms burned Tuesday afternoon on the roof of the former Red Lion Hotel at the Quay in Vancouver.

The fire was first reported by passersby around 2:30 p.m., according to Vancouver Fire Chief Brennan Blue. Upon arrival, firefighters reported heavy fire on the east side of the roof being driven by strong easterly winds.

The fire started in a shed on the roof that housed the building’s water softener system, according to a Vancouver Fire Department spokesperson.

“Vancouver firefighters extended their 100-foot aerial ladder from their tiller driven ladder truck and extinguished the fire by operating a master stream, which delivers about 800 GPM,” the fire department said in a news release.

The fire was mostly extinguished by 3 p.m. It did not appear to extend into the building’s interior, Blue said. Crews went onto the roof at 3:15 p.m. to extinguish the last of the flames and to assess the damage. No one was injured.

The old hotel is in the process of being demolished. Eventually, its owner, the Port of Vancouver, plans to redevelop the site.

Two Port of Vancouver employees were on the west side of the building doing abatement work when the fire started. They were able to safely leave the building, according to Port of Vancouver spokeswoman Therese Lang.

“There is no indication that their work contributed to the fire in any way,” Lang said.

The Vancouver Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the fire.

A huge plume of smoke was visible by about 2:40 p.m. downtown as it spread through the new Waterfront Vancouver development just downstream.

The first units to arrive requested a second alarm, which brought some 45 firefighters, 10 engines, two trucks and five battalion chiefs from both the Vancouver Fire Department and Clark County Fire District 6 to the scene, Blue said. Vancouver’s fire boat also responded to assist from the Columbia River.

The Vancouver Police Department assisted with traffic control, and AMR was also present at the scene.

Situated on a wooden pier just downstream of the Interstate 5 Bridge, the hotel has been a prominent Vancouver landmark for generations.

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Columbian staff writer