An extension cord attached to a window air conditioner unit is being cited as the cause of a fire at the Rogers Hotel Sunday.
Dispatchers were notified about the fire from a resident at the hotel who heard an unknown alarm sounding. Units were dispatched to the scene at 5:01 a.m.
“With the amount of smoke that was in the hotel, there is no way that a smoke detector would not have picked that up. So we are going to have to find out what was going on,” said Waxahachie Fire Chief David Hudgins, expressing concern the building’s smoke detectors may not have been in working order.
“In that area where the fire started, there was a table that had a heavy marble top that had been placed on the cord. Electricity flows like water and anytime electricity runs into resistance, it can get hot. So if you have a table leg on it, the electricity can build up like a dam, creating heat that could start a fire.”
Hudgins said the fire marshal is looking into which alarm sounded in the building and is unsure if the fire alarm system sounded during the fire.
According to reports, the fire occurred on the second floor of the building in one of the office spaces on the northwest corner. After detecting a faint smell of smoke behind a door, firefighters forced the door open. They connected to a standpipe system and used a hand line to extinguish the fire, Hudgins said.
Hudgins said because the fire occurred early Sunday morning when most of the businesses and offices were closed, there were few occupants in the building at the time of the fire.
When the Rogers reopened in the fall of 2009, the historic building was converted into leased space for businesses and offices, with only a limited number of rooms leased for overnight occupancy.
A primary search was conducted by Waxahachie firefighters to ensure that all occupants were out of the building. A secondary search was conducted by the Red Oak Fire Department to find an unaccounted for tenant, who was found and evacuated from the building with no injuries.
As a result of the fire, items from the Texas Musicians Museum were damaged. Hudgins said the initial damage estimate from the fire is approximately $50,000, of which $25,000 is damage to the structure.
Mutual aid was also received by the Ovilla Fire Department.
The Daily Light contacted Larry Burns, who was the initial majority owner of the building. Burns informed the newspaper that Derek Howard was now the majority owner of the property and referred all comments to Howard. As of press time Howard had yet to return multiple messages left by the Daily Light seeking comment.
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