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.