Saranac Lake, NY Hotel Fire, Jan 1964
14 HURT IN $200,000 HOTEL FIRE AT SARANAC LAKE.
GUESTS LEAP, CLIMB DOWN FIRE LADDERS.
Saranac Lake -- Fire and smoke shot like lightning through the Hotel St. Regis here Tuesday, destroying the five story, brick building and injuring at least 14 persons as guests leaped from windows and clambered down fire ladders.
No one was considered seriously injured, and all 50 guests were reported safe Tuesday night, police said. Three persons had been missing after the fire broke out about 8 a.m.
Two men suffered back injuries when they apparently jumped from the hotel to an adjoining roof. Of the injured, most suffered from smoke inhalation, minor burns, cuts and shock. The majority lived in this Adirondack resort.
Police Chief WILLILAM WALLACE estimated the hotel loss at $200,000 at least and possibly more. He pointed out that the 55 year old, 48-room hotel recently had undergone a $90,000 renovation.
The cause of the fire was not determined. There was one report that a furnace had exploded.
The fire, starting in the lower part of the building, blocked exits.
Within ten minutes, smoke was pouring out of top- story windows. Only people in the lobby had a chance for immediate escape. Others had to be rescued by fire ladder, or were told to jump into fire nets.
One man, dressed only in his trousers, stood on a hotel ledge for half an hour, clutching for a hold with a cut arm. Others also waited on the ledge, in the near-zero cold.
Firemen reported a little girl's bare feet became blue from cold before she could be brought down.
Intense heat scorched the sides of two adjacent business-apartment buildings and cracked windows in another business building 75 feet across the street.
Fire fighters from Lake Placid, Tupper Lake and Bloomingdale helped Saranac Lake firemen battle the flames.
The injured were taken to Saranac Lake General Hospital and the Will Rogers Memorial Hospital.
The two men who apparently jumped to a fire net on an adjoining roof were held for treatment of possible fractures of the vertebrae. They were CHARLES JAQUIS, 21, who lived in the hotel, and JOSEPH LALOND, 55, home address unavailable.
Out of town guests admitted to Saranac General for treatment of minor burns, bruises and shock were MRS. ARTHUR RANNIE, 46, of 4930 Prince of Wales Ave., Montreal; MISS GABRIELLE BERGERON, 25, daughter of LEO BERGERON, Keeseville, and RUTH ANN BERGERON, 4 1/2, relation unknown.
Among those taken to the Will Rogers Memorial was GRANT FIELD, address unknown.
DONALD HAZELTON of 31 Madison Ave., Saratoga Springs, and ROBERT BYRNE of Loon Lake were discharged from Saranac General.
The hotel was built in 1908 and had 65 rooms until the renovation, when rooms were enlarged.
The PAUL SMITH'S Electric Co. sent ladder equipment to the fire and also aided in whatever way it could in the battle against the fire. COL. J. R. BEDELL'S Red Cross disaster unit provided coffee for the fighters.
The coffee was made at Hotel Saranac by MRS. MARY GONYEA and relayed to the fire scene by students of Paul Smith's College at the college-owned Hotel Saranac.
Other restaurants sent coffee and food to the ice-coated fire fighters who fought the blaze with icicles sprouting from their faces and gear.
The smoldering ruins were attacked by a bulldozer and crane late Tuesday afternoon and by nightfall the once gay Hotel St. Regis, scene of many parties and a favorite of the bobsledding fraternity visiting Saranac Lake each year for the competition at Mt. Van Hoevenberg, lay a pretty well-flattened mass of smoking rubble.
GIL JONES was owner of the hotel.
The Post-Standard Syracuse NY 1964-01-15