J.C. motel guests rescued

By Thomas Wilson

STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   JOHNSON CITY -- Guests staying at a motel here escaped injury Friday afternoon after firefighters rescued several from a second floor balcony when fire broke out in a first floor laundry room.
   The Johnson City Fire Department responded to a fire call at the Village Lodge, 2316 Browns Mill Road at approximately 4:15 p.m. Friday, according to assistant fire chief Ted Eades.
   Eades said firefighters arrived to find some motel residents on the second floor balcony unable to escape due to heavy smoke in the stairwell.
   "Due to the smoke, the access to the stairwell was blocked," said Eades on Friday night. "We laddered the balconies and got people out that way." Four motel residents were rescued from the balcony by ladders, he added.
   Eades said the fire appeared to originate in the first floor laundry room of the hotel in a locker room. Firefighters extinguished the initial fire only to see remnants of the fire jump between small gaps in the walls of the rooms. Firemen cut through the building's roof to douse flames rising between the walls into the second floor, said Eades.
   "We had to trench cut the roof and fight the fire from up there instead of from below," said Eades. "That's what made it more difficult in getting the fire completely contained."
   Eades said no guests or motel employees were injured in the fire. He said one firefighter was transported to Johnson City Medical Center due to overexertion in fighting the blaze.
   The motel did not have a sprinkler system. The building was constructed prior to building codes requiring the installation of sprinklers, Eades said.
   The cause of the fire remains under investigation.