FORT STOCKTON - People on the street in Fort Stockton told NewsWest 9 the Best Western Hotel fire forced them to evacuate just after 4:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, but when we arrived after 6 p.m. Tuesday night, orange and blue flames were still engulfing parts of the hotel and those parts were crumbling.
"I'm just saddened by all of it, for the guests, for myself, for the employees, because that's their livelihood, that's our life that's gone," Best Western General Manager, Patricia Fitzpatrick, said.
These fiery, crumbling Best Western walls are a devastating sight for Fitzpatrick.
Her possessions and her work were going up in flames.
"Our main concern was: 'Yes, it's fire. Call the fire department,'" she said. "But to get our guests out and make sure that they're safe."
She was standing outside on her cell phone when the fire alarm rang out just after 4 p.m.
Then, chaos ensued. She and her employees, including worker Curtis Hoard, sprang into action.
"Then we ran around and just started pounding windows and doors, yelling and screaming as loud as we can to get people out of there," Hoard said. "Before we knew it, it was smoked and that was it."
The quick work of firefighters and hotel staff made sure all were evacuated without a single injury.
Hoard had been helping renovate the hotel for the last three months.
He told NewsWest 9 he heard that the fire started in the attic and that it was electrical, possibly caused by a welding equipment shortage.
Fort Stockton police told NewsWest 9 they believe the same but are still investigating and they anticipated battling the blaze long into the night.
NewsWest 9 discovered that the Super 8 Hotel across the street from Best Western is offering lower rates for rooms for the evacuees.
If you are an evacuee or know someone who was evacuated, that's one place you can go.
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