Heat cord sparks hotel attic fire in Troy

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published February 12, 2019

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TROY — Improperly installed heat tape applied to keep pipes from freezing ignited insulation in an attic at Homewood Suites, 1495 Equity Drive, near Maple and Crooks roads, just before 1:30 p.m. Feb. 8.

Firefighters were called to the hotel on a report that smoke and flames were visible in the attic, above the fourth floor.

According to a press release, the front desk clerk called 911 after hotel maintenance staff alerted the clerk to the fire.

Firefighters arrived and received initial reports that the blaze may have been extinguished in the large, occupied, four-story hotel, according to the release.

Assistant Fire Chief Chuck Riesterer told C & G Newspapers that since the fire was not large enough to activate the fire suppression system and the smoke was in the attic space, the hotel staff activated the fire alarm to alert guests to the fire and to begin evacuation of the hotel before the Troy Fire Department arrived.

“There were no smoke detectors in the attic, only in the living space,” he said.

Firefighters searched the fourth floor, and hotel staff searched the lower levels of the hotel to confirm that no one was inside, the report states.

Crews located the fire and contained it to the attic space above one hotel room, Riesterer said.

Smoke and fire damage was limited to the attic space, according to the release.

The Troy Building Department will follow up.

Riesterer said investigators determined that improperly installed heat tape or cable, used to keep pipes from freezing, ignited the attic insulation.

Damage estimates are incomplete, but they are not expected to exceed $10,000, according to the release.

The hotel occupants were able to return to the fourth floor.

Riesterer said that hotel management made the right decision to activate the alarm system, which allowed the occupants time to safely exit the hotel.

The Troy Fire Department urges everyone to first sound the alarm if they see a fire, evacuate from the area, and then call 911 from a safe place to report the fire.