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Fire still burns at landmark Hot Springs hotel

Posted: February 28, 2014 - 11:08am
Hot Springs Fire Department firefighters battle a fire at the Majestic Hotel Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, in Hot Springs, Ark. The historic structure closed in 2006 after operating 124 years after city officials determined that it was uninhabitable. (AP Photo/The Sentinel-Record, Mara Kuhn)
Hot Springs Fire Department firefighters battle a fire at the Majestic Hotel Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, in Hot Springs, Ark. The historic structure closed in 2006 after operating 124 years after city officials determined that it was uninhabitable. (AP Photo/The Sentinel-Record, Mara Kuhn)

HOT SPRINGS — Firefighters were battling a stubborn blaze Friday at an abandoned hotel in Hot Springs that has stood as a city landmark for more than 130 years.

The fire broke out Thursday evening at the Majestic Hotel near Bathhouse Row downtown. The hotel, which was built in 1882, had fallen into disrepair after its closure in 2006 and was boarded up earlier this year. No one was inside the building when the fire broke out and there were no reported injuries, according to the Hot Springs Fire Department.

Fire Chief Ed Davis said the fire apparently started in the center section of the fifth floor of the original hotel building, then spread to the north and south ends of the building and lower floors. The cause of the fire wasn't yet known Friday.

David Watkins, Hot Springs' city manager, told The Sentinel-Record (http://bit.ly/1mKkmex ) that the community will be saddened by the fire, and that it serves as a warning about what can happen when buildings aren't maintained.

"They are going to eventually fall apart or catch fire. I think it's an opportunity for the community to come together and commit itself to making downtown Hot Springs what it can be," Watkins said.

The hotel originally opened as the Avenue Hotel but was renamed the Majestic in 1888 for the Majestic Stove Co. of St. Louis. The hotel served customers for more than a century and through Hot Springs' bathhouse heyday. It closed its doors eight years ago and city officials and developers had hoped to convert the historic building for another purpose, though no plan ever got off the ground.

"I don't think it was easily repairable and it's going to require vision and money," said Don Gooch, Hot Springs area community president of Arvest Bank. "But seeing the bones of the city going up like this is a tragedy."

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InsGuru
5827
Points
InsGuru 02/28/14 - 11:41 am
0
0
ARson

"I don't think it was easily repairable and it's going to require vision and money," said Don Gooch, Hot Springs area community president of Arvest Bank. "But seeing the bones of the city going up like this is a tragedy."

Arson arson arson!

conwaygerl
7150
Points
conwaygerl 02/28/14 - 01:28 pm
1
0
of course it's arson

"Garland County Judge Rick Davis has contacted Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe’s office to request an emergency declaration, and the owner of the building is being sent formal notice today of the city’s efforts to address the immediate concerns to public health, safety and welfare posed by the fire. Judge Davis will coordinate with the City of Hot Springs to begin the demolition of the older section of the Majestic (the yellow building) as early as today in order to mitigate the safety hazards posed by the still-burning structure. The Hot Springs Sanitation Department will haul the rubble to the county landfill if allowed by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. The Stormwater Division will gauge the runoff for water quality concerns. ADEQ has also been contacted regarding a waiver of hazardous materials removal for the structure."
http://www.fox16.com/story/d/story/report-500000-gallons-of-water-per-ho...

The building was full of asbestos.
Now they get a waiver of haz-mat removal (read the last line of the article).

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