“Ive never seen anything like that in my life, Ive never seen a fire blazing like that,” said Hunter Freiberg, who works nearby.
I had no idea how bad it was going to be until they started fighting the fire, and then you could start seeing flames coming from the roof, said Kris Genschmer who saw the fire while walking to work.
Arson investigation underway after fire rips through old hotel in Birmingham
Update to the Hospitality Inn Fire in Birmingham. Authorities say several surrounding businesses have evacuated @WBRCnews pic.twitter.com/woJNS0VZCU
Birmingham firefighters spent hours Tuesday battling a two-alarm blaze that started at a vacant Southside hotel and spread to four other buildings.
The fire was intentionally set, according to fire officials, and remains under investigation. A Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service firefighter was taken to the hospital with smoke inhalation and is expected to be released tonight.
The fire erupted about 9:11 a.m Tuesday at the old Hospitality Inn on Seventh Avenue South between 21st and 22nd streets, near the UAB Hospital complex. Between 50 and 60 firefighters battled the flames hours before it was finally brought under control in the afternoon, said Birmingham Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Sebastian Carrillo.
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
There were 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. We will be in a long-term operation from this point on, Carrillo said.
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, but the fire eventually jumped the firewall. It spread to both of those businesses, as well as two other vacant buildings. Carrillo said all five are a total loss.
Transients are known to stay in the building but no one was found inside after the blaze was extinguished.
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.