Two people were hurt when they jumped off a second story balcony to escape a burning South Lake Tahoe hotel on Wednesday night.
Nearly a third of Deerfield Lodge in South Lake Tahoe was damaged by the 11:45 p.m. fire, and was charred black and still dripping water Thursday morning while investigators looked for the cause.
The two were taken to Barton Memorial Hospital for treatment, said Sallie Ross-Filgo, a spokeswoman for the South Lake Tahoe Fire Department.
The fire destroyed or severely damaged at least six rooms and five vehicles and displaced 35 people late Wednesday night.
“We are very grateful — let’s just say it could have been much worse. We’re lucky it stopped where it did and lucky all our guests are still with us,” hotel manager Ashley Bailey said.
Neighbors saw the fire and helped knock on doors to try to get people out, Bailey said.
“It went so fast,” Bailey said. “Everyone pulled together last night to make sure all the guests are OK and accounted for and to try to provide anything and everything they need. It’s extreme to be on vacation in a town and to lose everything. We just have to be there for them.”
The fire caused an estimated $2.5 million in damages to the Deerfield Lodge property. The fire was reported to be under control by about 2:35 a.m. Thursday morning.
South Lake Tahoe Fire Department, Lake Valley Fire Protection District, Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District and Cal Fire responded to the scene with 10 fire engines, one fire truck and five ambulances, Ross-Filgo said.
The city of South Lake Tahoe arranged for people who were displaced by the fire to be bussed over to Lakeside Inn on Lake Tahoe Boulevard. That included 16 families.
“They were able to accept the whole group,” City Manager Nancy Kerry said. “One family of five from New Jersey lost everything they came with.”
Hotel guests had come from as far away as Amsterdam and Belgium.
The fire was extremely hot and intense and spread to nearby trees, with heat breaking out a window in a neighboring house. Crews were able to stop the fire from spreading to the front of the hotel, South Lake Tahoe Fire Chief Jeff Meston said.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation Thursday afternoon.