A fire that began in the kitchen of the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge forced the evacuation of 500 to 600 hotel guests and staff Thursday night.

Units were dispatched to the hotel, located near Fairbanks International Airport, at 8:30 p.m., according to a University Fire Department news release. Arriving crews found the fire had spread into the kitchen floor and was burning into the wooden support structure below.

The fire was contained to the initial area and did not spread into other parts of the building, according to the news release.

Princess found overnight off-site accommodations for the displaced guests and is working on admitting guests back into the undamaged portions of the hotel.

"Guests scheduled to stay at the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge June 14-15 will be reassigned to other local hotels to ensure expedited cleaning, and any impacted dates beyond that will be evaluated and announced as soon as possible," Negin Kamali, public relations director for Princess Cruises, said via email Friday afternoon.

Kamali also indicated that 140 guests were relocated to Denali.

The fire is under investigation by the State Fire Marshal's office and the University Fire Department fire marshal. Preliminary investigation suggests the fire started underneath or behind one of the kitchen appliances, according to Kyle Carrington, the Fairbanks-based state fire marshal.

"Right now we can safely say it's a cooking-related fire. We still have a few kitchen staff members to talk to, but we have no reason to believe it was intentional. We're suspecting it's grease that ignited, based on the fire behaviors described by witnesses," Carrington said.

Multiple agencies responded to provide assistance that included seven engines, four ambulances, three ladder trucks, three police units and other support vehicles.

Fairbanks Fire Department, Fort Wainwright Fire Department, Chena Goldstream Fire and Rescue, Ester Volunteer Fire Department, Steese Volunteer Fire Department, North Star Volunteer Fire Department, North Pole Fire Department, Eielson Air Force Base Fire Department, Fairbanks North Star Borough Hazardous Materials Response Team, Fairbanks North Star Borough Emergency Operations, Airport Police and Fire, Alaska State Troopers, American Red Cross, and Golden Valley Electric Association provided assistance, according to the release.

The Red Cross disaster team provided water, Gatorade, snacks and blankets to displaced guests and canteen services to the dozens of firefighters on scene, according to an email from Cari Dighton, communications officer for the organization's Alaska region.

Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7582. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.

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