A four-alarm fire broke out at an Irving hotel near Dallas-Fort Worth Airport Tuesday afternoon.
The blaze began just before 5 p.m. at the Comfort Inn on SH 114, close to Freeport Parkway.
The Irving Fire Department told The Dallas Express that the fire was under control by 6:33 p.m., although small “hot spots” still required engagement by fire crews throughout the night and into the next day.
Officials stated that the fire started on the third floor and that all guests and staff had been accounted for. Luckily, there were no deaths or injuries.
As of Thursday, “the investigation [was] still in the information gathering phase,” according to the fire department, “because of the structure’s weak integrity. [Investigators] are navigating the scene as quickly and safely possible.”
Officials stated that search and rescue began quickly upon fire crews’ arrival. They began evacuating some people from the third level but soon withdrew due to the threat of possible building collapse.
Some guests inside the hotel at the time of the fire recalled the incident, some saying they had just minutes to escape.
One of them, Rene Garza, said he did not take the fire seriously at first.
“I just thought somebody pulled the alarm,” Garza told NBC 5, “so I took some toilet paper, shoved it in my ears and sat there for a little while.”
When Garza peeked into the hall after a few minutes, he smelled smoke. He and other fellow guests from the second floor walked down the hallway to find that the elevator had been closed off.
Then, upon opening the door to the stairwell, they saw that the third floor was full of smoke and came to the conclusion that they needed to leave the building.
Garza said they went down the stairs, where the smoke was so dense that he had to use the clothes he managed to grab from his room to cover his face.
“The stuff you see in the movies, it’s real,” he said. “I mean, it’s that thick. You can barely see anything.”
The four-alarm fire affected movement on the nearby highway, which police closed in both directions when smoke and debris from the fire blew across the road, limiting visibility. Lanes reopened after 6:30 p.m.
Officials stated the cause of the afire has yet to be determined.