Blackened, smoking rubble is all that remains of The Wave Hotel in Clarenville this morning.
Local volunteer firefighters packed up their gear around 7:30 a.m. this morning, Feb. 3, after spending 10 hours of battling the blaze on a cold winter night.
Cory Feltham, Fire Chief of the Clarenville Volunteer Fire Department told The Packet this morning, they got the call around 10 p.m. on Saturday night.
When they arrived on the scene, the occupants of the 48-room hotel were already evacuated from the building.
“When we showed up on the scene, there was black smoke coming up through the roof and flames 15 to 20 feet in the air,” said Feltham. “It seemed like it (the fire) was in the attic.”
Feltham says the firefighters battled the flames through the night, dealing with sub-zero temperatures that created extra challenges for the firefighters.
The Wave Hotel is located on Blackmore Avenue, near the Eastlink Event Centre (EEC) and several other businesses.
The Clarenville High School and Middle School complex are also nearby.
Mayor Frazer Russell was also at the scene last night.
He says the fire department was “extremely lucky that there was very little wind last night” and nearby buildings were not threatened.
The Mayor added this is a great loss for the town, given that the building also contained the only swimming pool for the area and a fully-equipped gym, both of which were very popular for the public of Clarenville and area.
“It’s a tremendous loss for the town. And I certainly want to praise our local volunteer fire department,” Russell told the Packet.
“But there wasn’t much they could do once that fire got going,” he said. “Our fire department did what was possible.”
Hotel owner Alex Balsom could not be reached for comment, but Russell said the loss is obviously disheartening for the business owner, who had just added additional rooms to the hotel in the past year.
“He put hours of work into it and I guess the hope is that he can rebuild,” said Russell. “My fondest wish is that he can be in a rebuild situation as soon as it is possible; and hopefully this is just a temporary loss."
RCMP fire investigators are at the scene today. The police have not issued any information about the fire, or the cause of the blaze.