More than 80 firefighters fought blaze at Dana Point Harbor Inn Tuesday night

Orange County Fire Authority rigs line Photo by Jack Spear
Orange County Fire Authority rigs line Dana Point Harbor Drive Tuesday night, as crews battle a three-alarm fire at the Dana Point Harbor Inn. Photo by Jack Spear

By Andrea Papagianis, Updated: 2/12/2014 at 11:00 a.m.

More than 80 firefighters battled a fire at a Dana Point hotel Tuesday night, officials confirmed.

Crews responded to the two-story Dana Point Harbor Inn at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Dana Point Harbor Drive just before 8:30 p.m., according to the Orange County Fire Authority’s Twitter account.

The fire was reported at 8:12 p.m. in a vacant building of the hotel, said OCFA spokesman Capt. Steve Concialdi. By 9:07 p.m. crews had the fire under control, he said.

Between the department’s first tweet at 8:24 p.m. and 8:36 p.m. the number of firefighters on scene doubled from 30 to 60. The fire was listed as a two-alarm blaze. Just six minutes later, at 8:42 p.m., the fire was upgraded to a three-alarm fire and an estimated 85 crew members were either on site or en route.

The fire began in a bottom unit of the motel’s southern building, which was vacant and undergoing renovations, Concialdi confirmed. Flames spread upward, climbing up walls and floors, before entering an attic that spread across the building. Of the building’s 22 units, 10 were damaged by either fire, water or smoke, he said.

“The aggressive actions of our firefighters kept the fire from running the common attic and they kept the damage to just 10 units,” Concialdi said. “This could have been far worse. We could have lost the entire building had the fire had run the entire attic.”

Authorities estimate $450,000 in structural and $100,000 in content damages were sustained.

The motel’s northern building was evacuated. The two buildings are separated by a pool, Concialdi said.

All electricity to the motel was turned off. As such, the city red-tagged the building, and at least 30 guests were displaced by the fire, he said. Volunteers with the American Red Cross were on site providing assistance, as motel staff worked to place guests at other area hotels.

The motel was first red-tagged by the city in November after the main sewage line showed signs of disintegration. The southern building had been vacant since Nov. 12, said city building official Mark Sutton, when the city issued a substandard building letter to Beverly Hills Hospitality Group.

The northern building had since been reopened, but the renovations to the southern sewage line were still months away from completion, Sutton said, as the project’s scope of work had changed. Initially the city discovered old pipes had deteriorated and raw sewage was being soaked into the ground. Sutton said the issue had to be isolated so as to not pollute nearby water sources.

Beverly Hills Hospitality Group is the developer behind the proposed Doheny Hotel. If plans for the more than 250-room, five-story hotel garner Planning Commission and City Council approval, the inn, Jack and the Box and vacant storefront on three adjoining lots would be demolished.

Follow us on Twitter for updates.

About The Author Dana Point Times