Cause of Deerfield Lodge fire undetermined, sprinkler system was off |

Cause of Deerfield Lodge fire undetermined, sprinkler system was off

by Tom Lotshaw

The sprinkler system in a South Lake Tahoe hotel was turned off when a fire forced two people to jump to safety on July 23.

"The fire sprinkler system which is connected to an alarm was turned off during the fire. Smoke detectors in the rooms were operating," South Lake Tahoe Fire Chief Jeff Meston said. "We just don't know what caused the fire and at this point we are not leaning in any direction but undetermined."

The cause of a South Lake Tahoe hotel fire that left 35 vacationers temporarily displaced and two people injured one week ago remains undetermined and under investigation.

The sprinkler system at the heavily damaged Deerfield Lodge was found to be turned off at the time of the blaze.

The fire broke out shortly before midnight. It damaged nearly a third of the hotel, located on Ski Run Boulevard.

Two people were seriously injured when they jumped off a second-story balcony to escape the flames, which caused an estimated $2.5 million in damage.

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The last building permit inspection at Deerfield Lodge was in October 2006.

It was a final sign-off on an interior remodel of the hotel rooms and would have included verification that all smoke detectors were in place and operating.

The fire marshal also signed off on a sprinkler permit at that time, said Hilary Roverud, director of development services for South Lake Tahoe.

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