A rubber glove accidentally placed in a commercial dryer is believed to be responsible for a fire that broke out in the laundry room of the Hume Hotel on Sunday morning.
Although fire officials initially estimated the damage at $25,000, general manager Ryan Martin said it was actually much less — about $4,600 to the equipment plus some business interruption.
“I believe a rubber globe inadvertently made its way into the dryer, got hot and started to melt and burn,” Martin said. “Smoke started billowing out of dryer.”
Nelson Fire Rescue Services received the call at 7:15 a.m. When they arrived at the 116-year-old building, smoke was coming from the laundry room vents. The fire in the dryer was extinguished and crews then worked on checking to ensure the fire hadn’t spread.
Hotel staff were instructed to sound the fire alarm and start evacuating the building. The hotel had a list of all guests and checked everybody’s name off as they exited. With the help of police, they then went room-to-room looking for anyone still unaccounted for, but found no one left inside.
“Staff did a great job of ensuring everybody’s safety,” Martin said. “Emergency responders came quickly and dealt with it. I’m happy to say that this old hotel lives another day. We’ve survived a few fires over the years. It is very scary and goes to show how quickly how things can turn.”
Smoke was heaviest in the basement but there was smoke throughout the building to the fourth floor. Fans were set up to push the smoke out and a fire restoration company was called in to help hotel staff with cleanup.
Martin said they returned to the building after about 45 minutes and it was business as usual in time for the regular Sunday brunch. Damage was limited to the laundry room. “I’m relieved how it turned out, because it could have been far worse,” Martin said.
In all, seven firefighters responded to the incident with two fire engines, one ladder truck, and two utility vehicles. No injuries were reported.
“Nelson Fire Rescue would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to ensure that their smoke alarms are operating and they have a home fire safety plan,” assistant chief Michael Daloise said in a news release. More information is always available by calling 250-352-3103.
It’s the second time the Hume Hotel has been evacuated this year. In February, an ammonia-like vapor escaped from a cylinder as it was removed from the basement of the Redfish Grill across the alley.