Between 50 and 60 firefighters have been on the scene at the old Hospitality Inn on Seventh Avenue South between 21st and 22nd streets, near the UAB Hospital complex, for nearly two hours. Birmingham Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Sebastian Carrillo said BFRS was dispatched to the scene about 9:15 a.m.
50-60 firefighters involved in battling fire in downtown Birmingham
BFRS Battalion Chief Sebastian Carillo said 50 to 60 firefighters are battling the blaze and he expects the fight will be a long haul pic.twitter.com/4074tA2BIy
The fire was not under control as of 11:30 a.m. and had spread to neighboring businesses. There are six engine companies two truck companies, two rescue units and two battalion chiefs on the scene. Birmingham police arson investigators also are at the location.
The Hospitality Inn has been closed for at least five years. It is adjacent to Yum Yai thai restaurant and the Chai Market. Carrillo said there is a firewall between the businesses which had helped to slow the spread as of now. However, authorities said a basement runs along all of the buildings.
Transients are known to stay in the building but it is not yet known if anyone was inside. “We have been unable to make entry into the building deep enough to determine if we have anyone inside, Carrillo said. Birmingham police said they have reports and a vague description of someone running from the building as flames erupted.
Carrillo Tuesday afternoon said the fire was intentionally set, but said he could not yet disclose what led to that conclusion. One Birmingham firefighter was transported to the hospital with minor smoke inhalation.
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) – Birmingham firefighters say the fire Tuesday morning at the vacant Hospitality Inn on 7th Avenue South was intentionally set.
Update to the Hospitality Inn Fire in Birmingham. Authorities say several surrounding businesses have evacuated @WBRCnews pic.twitter.com/woJNS0VZCU