by Ray Pauley
Public Information Officer
Grand Island Fire Co.
Shortly before 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 8, Grand Island Fire Co. firefighters responded to a fire alarm at the Holiday Inn Grand Island, 100 Whitehaven Road on East River Road.
GIFC Chief Kevin Koch reported that the entire fourth floor hallway was filled with smoke when GIFC units first arrived on location within two minutes. Holiday Inn maintenance personnel assisted firefighters in pinpointing the origin of the fire as room No 455, which had been vacated earlier that morning. Meanwhile, approximately 100 guests and visitors were evacuated from the building while GIFC fire suppression crews and Engines Nos. 3 and 4 and ladder truck No. 6 utilized an interior standpipe system to commence firefighting operations. GIFC firefighters were relieved by mutual aid crews from Brighton, Sheridan Park and Kenmore volunteer fire departments at the scene. The City of Tonawanda also handled a Long Road emergency while on standby at GIFC fire headquarters.
The fire was extinguished at 11:06 a.m., and was confined to the room of origin. Total damage (including water damage to rooms below) was estimated at $35,000 according to Koch. The exact cause remains undetermined, according to GIFC fire investigators Chuck Berlinger and Mike DeMartin and their Erie County Sheriff's Office counterparts.
There were no injuries to the hotel guest or to the 35 GIFC firefighters and mutual aid contingents responding. All participating companies were returned to service by 12:29 p.m. after extensive overhaul was completed, although fire investigators continued their inquiry.
"Hats off the Grand Island Fire Co., police department and volunteers for a superb job managing the fire at the Holiday Inn on Sunday," one hotel guest wrote to the Dispatch. "The Holiday Inn did a great job too managing the crowd outside. Tragedy of life and property averted, and I thank you!"