Smoke detector saves historic hotel

GARDNERVILLE - No one was hurt in a 7:15 a.m. fire Monday that started after a woman lit candles near the base of her bed and then fell asleep at the Adaven Hotel on Highway 395 in Gardnerville.

Andraya Carroll, 21, woke in her second-story room of the hotel to the sound of a smoke detector, according to East Fork Fire and Paramedics District Fire Captain Terry Taylor.

"Smoke detectors do save lives," Taylor said. "You have no sense of smell when you are asleep. She was two to three minutes away from not waking up."

The room was filled with smoke and her bed was on fire, according to Taylor. She was able to escape from her burning bed.

"She's the luckiest girl of 2004," he said.

Two men, Dan Fiesler, 45, and Brian Bardin, 22, entered the room, "hit the fire" several times with the fire extinguisher and put the fire out.

"It was a miracle," said Fiesler, the proprietor of the building for about 14 months.

"I was scared. I have a great depth of love for this building. I was scared. My 4-year-old daughter was here."

"They did a good thing," Taylor said. "Most people run the other way from fire."

Fiesler credits the fire alarm system with saving the tenants and the building. The $30,000 system was installed about four years ago.

It's a hardwired system, which means that if the alarm goes off a call goes out as well, and dispatch is alerted.

Several fire units responded to the call, including the Gardnerville Volunteer Fire Department, the Douglas County Engine Company, East Fork Fire and Paramedic Districts Department Engine 14 and Ranchos Fire and Rescue.

Taylor said about $1,000 worth of damage occurred. About two years ago, a fire that started from a candle on Kim Place in the Johnson Lane area burned two bedrooms and a living room, causing $45,000 to $50,000 worth of damage.

"Candles should not be lit and left unattended," Taylor said. "You should not light candles and then go to sleep. When you do light a candle, it should have glass around it or ceramic. If you're going to go to sleep you shouldn't be lighting candles. You should be alert."

He advised that smoke detectors in homes should be checked once a month by pushing the test button and that homeowners should consider purchasing fire extinguishers. Hotels are required to have fire extinguishers and some homeowner's insurance policies give discounts for having fire extinguishers, he said.


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