The historic McConnell Hotel in downtown Kellogg caught fire Tuesday afternoon, with embers from the four-story blaze touching off fires across town on six residences and businesses.
The Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the fire began at 3:20 p.m. and quickly spread throughout the old hotel located at the corner of Main Street and W. Portland Avenue.
The fire ripped through the structure, tearing away floors and walls. The roof caved in and one outer wall collapsed completely, said Crickett Corveill, a Kellogg resident who witnessed the blaze.
Embers from the hotel fire, caught by the wind, triggered additional fires across downtown, including one about a block and a half away at Patrick’s Inn and Steakhouse at 305 S. Division St., said Kjell Truesdell, spokesman for Shoshone Fire District 2.
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The Kellogg Fire Department, supported by mutual aid from agencies across the Silver Valley and Kootenai County, converged on the area to put the fires out as well as wet down the buildings adjacent to the McConnell to prevent the fire from spreading further.
While the McConnell Hotel is a total loss, there’s no word yet on the damage done to other businesses and residences that were burned.
The hotel was vacant and no injuries have been reported among local residents. Avista reported as of 5:28 p.m. that 536 people were without power in Kellogg due to the fire. The estimated time of restoring power was 6:15 p.m.
The heat Tuesday played a factor in the firefighting effort. One law enforcement officer was taken to a local hospital to receive oxygen; another was treated after re-aggravating an old injury.
In 2006, a coffee shop opened in the hotel’s lobby and developers had plans to invest $30 million on a makeover, which would include 66 condo suites in the hotel and adding an adjoining structure behind the building, according to a story that ran in The Spokesman-Review.
Kellogg resident Jill Cerber said she believed the hotel closed in the 80s. “It was one of the nicest hotels between here and Seattle,” she said. “A lot of history there.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation.