Kitchen fire closes down Princess Lodge, guests relocated

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska A fire that started in the Princess Lodge kitchen set off fire alarms at approximately 8:25PM AKST Thursday night. Over 500 people were evacuated from the building and nine fire agencies, the borough hazmat team and Red Cross responded.

The fire was spreading through the walls but UAF Fire Department Captain Dan Weatherly said the fire was contained around two hours later and that no injuries were reported.

The fire was spreading through the walls but UAF Fire Department Captain Dan Weatherly said the fire was contained around two hours later and that no injuries were reported.

Weatherly said this was one of the biggest fire responses he has seen in Fairbanks with over 60 emergency responders assisting in fighting the fire.

“The kitchen has definitely suffered some damage and some areas around the kitchen. Most of the hotel was not damaged by fire or heat specifically, but we’re still evaluating the extent of water and or smoke damage.”

Princess Lodge declined to comment multiple times on the fire and where guests were taken.
Alan Meyer from Florida is on a two week cruise with Princess and said last night, “We weren’t told anything. I just heard some rumors that it was a kitchen fire… but we have been told nothing.”

Other guests had the same story, saying they were told to get on busses but haven’t been told what the plans are and how their trips will continue.

“We were on a cruise supposedly, we were supposed to go to Denali tomorrow, that doesn’t look like that’s happening. We spent a lot of money and things aren’t happening right,” said T.J. Gallup, a guest from New York.

After emergency personnel checked for injuries and retrieved medications from guests’ rooms, guests were then bussed to the River Boat Discovery until hotel staff was able to relocate them.

While at the Riverboat, guests were told they would be bussed to different hotels around town and that a bus would be running to the airport for those who had flights leaving. The lodge is closed until further notice.

Many guests where eating dinner when the alarm went off.

“I was just coming out of the dining room and smelled the smoke and heard the alarm and that was it, went into the parking lot. So it’s been a long evening,” said Rick Custer a tourist from Virginia.

Many guests didn’t have time to grab anything from the hotel but the mood was still light outside as they waited to hear the news.

Meyers was able to grab his backpack before leaving, “Med’s, anything important is in here, and my chocolates are in here. Can’t have my chocolates melted.”

Today, employees of Princess removed remaining luggage from the damaged hotel.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.