Three Alarm Fire Forces Evacuation of Major Downtown Hotel

Close-up of a fire truck

Close-up of a fire truck

A three alarm fire that was sparked by a restaurant grease fire at the Shops at Rivercenter filled the intertwined ventilation duct work that winds below the shopping center and the Marriott Riverwalk Hotel this afternoon prompted the evacuation of the entire 40 story hotel, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Firefighter Joe Arrington says crews were called about noon on a report of smoke emerging from exhaust vents on the roof of the hotel.

"On looking into it it appears to be a grease fire in the duct work that appears to be going through the system," he said.

The hotel and the Shops at Rivercenter were ordered completely evacuated as a precaustion.  Guests at the hotel were relocated to the lobby of the Convention Center.  Davy Crockett, from the Alamo--the Experience event at the Shops at Rivercenter, was among those watching the fire with his long rifle at his side.

Arrington says in addition to the fire, crews were also fighting the heat and humidity."

We've gone to a third alarm, mainly because we are at a high heat index, so we can switch out our personnel," he said.

Crews after about 90 minutes managed to put out all fire and they simply allowed the smoke to be vented out.Some forty fire trucks were lined up around the Shops at Rivercenter, forcing the closure of much of the east end of downtown.

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