The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 31, 2013

Small fire forces evacuation of Carthage hotel

By Susan Redden

CARTHAGE, Mo. — The Best Western Precious Moments Hotel had to be evacuated for about 30 minutes Thursday after a fire started near a wall heater on the first floor of the building at 2701 Hazel Ave.

Crews with the Carthage Fire Department responded at about 12:45 p.m., said Roger Williams, assistant fire chief. No injuries were reported.

He said the blaze started in wiring to one of the wall heaters in a first-floor room on the north side of the building. The building’s sprinkler system had extinguished the fire by the time crews arrived. There was moderate fire damage to the unoccupied room where the blaze happened, and water damage to that room and several adjacent rooms.

“There was a little bit of smoke throughout the building, and they had to evacuate everybody for a while,” Williams said.

Anthea Harbin, general manager, said about six employees and four guests were in the hotel when the fire started.

“We got everyone out, and we all had to stay out for about 30 minutes until they got the smoke cleared out,” she said.

She said the evacuation went quickly. She called guests on the phone, and housekeepers went room to room. No guests were staying near where the fire happened, she said, because that portion of the building is closed for the winter, which is the slow season for the 120-room hotel.

“We’ll have it all fixed by spring,” Harbin said. “The sprinkler did its job, and everything worked the way it was supposed to.”

Fire crews remained on the scene for about 2 1/2 hours.