Severed gas line sparks destructive fire at Chautauqua Lodge

<I>DAMIAN MULINIX/Chinook Observer</I><BR>Firefighters from the Long Beach and Ilwaco volunteer fire departments responded to the call which saw damage to five rooms at the hotel.

LONG BEACH - Around 1 p.m. Tuesday, the Long Beach Fire Department responded to reports of a room fire at Chautauqua Lodge, 304 NW 14th Street. After putting out the fire, it was determined that a gas line was inadvertently cut during an improvement project. It is suspected that the gas leaked through the rooms and was sparked by a pilot light.

Dale Jacobsen of Active Enterprises quickly responded to shut off the gas lines. "They're probably looking at a lot of damage," he explained. "Unfortunately it could have been prevented ... They accidentally severed the gas line and it probably went unnoticed due to all the construction noise. The line only has six ounces of pressure, so it's not like it would make a big 'whoosh' into the room... This is what we call in our business a 'fast burn' rather than an 'explosion' - we don't like to use that word in this business."

The Long Beach Police Department and Ilwaco Fire Department also responded to the incident. At least five vacant motel rooms appeared to be affected by the fire.

There was no immediate estimate of total monetary damages or word on reconstruction plans.

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