No civilians or firefighters were injured in a fire that ripped through an empty Geist Road-area motel early Monday morning, according to fire officials. The cause of the fire is unknown and still under investigation by local and state fire marshals.
University Fire Department crews responded to the College Inn at 5:17 a.m. after getting a report of a structure fire threatening the adjacent Holiday gas station and convenience store. They found the north side of the motel heavily involved and heat damage developing on the gas station wall, according to a news release issued Thursday morning by University Fire Marshal Kyle Green.
Crews aggressively attacked the fire and successfully pushed it back from the gas station, which sustained minor heat damage on exterior wood siding. The north portion of the motel collapsed within minutes of fire crews' arrival, making interior firefighting operations unsafe, according to the release.
The fire was brought under control a little more than three hours later, and crews spent the next 12 hours digging through the rubble and extinguishing hot spots. Heavy equipment was brought in to aid in that effort.
The College Inn is a U-shaped structure built out of old ATCO units in 1984. It is located off Geist Road at 700 Fairbanks St., just south of the Holiday gas station and across the street from the College post office. It has been vacant for more than a year and is considered to be abandoned. Fairbanks North Star Borough tax records show almost $32,000 is owed in delinquent taxes on the property for 2019 and 2018.
Mutual aid in fighting the fires was provided by Fairbanks Fire Department, Fort Wainwright Fire & Emergency Services, Steese Volunteer Fire Department, Chena-Goldstream Fire & Rescue and Ester Volunteer Fire Department.
Alaska State Troopers, Fairbanks Airport Police and Fire, and University Police Department provided traffic control and scene security. College Utilities Corporation provided additional water and the American Red Cross provided snacks and beverages for the fire crews.
Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7582. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.