Fire evacuates 18 at Sun Deck Inn
Blaze was brought under control quickly, no injuries reported
A cigarette that was put out in a flower pot led to a fire at the Sun Deck Inn and Suites on Fort Myers Beach Thursday night.
While the small blaze was put out within an hour and confined to a wall between two rooms, all 18 people had to be evacuated out of the hotel since the electric was cut off during the response.
Fort Myers Beach Fire Department Executive Assistant Chief Ron Martin said the fire began at approximately 7 p.m. outside an unoccupied hotel room on a wooden deck and was ruled as accidental. “There were no injuries,” Martin said.
“It was a small fire but it got into the wall void. It took about an hour to extinguish it,” Martin said.
Several doors and windows were broken in order to fight the blaze. Martin estimated the total damage at approximately $20,000.
The hotel’s co-owner Nina Birkart said the hotel issued refunds to the guests and helped them find local accommodations with the assistance of the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce President Jacki Liszak said she worked to help the guests find rooms at the Wyndham Garden Inn on Fort Myers Beach and Hampton Inn off island. Liszak said one room at the Wyndham was the only available unit on the island. There were eight couples that needed housing, she said. Birkart also ordered Ubers and Lyft driving services for the guests who didn’t have vehicles.
The chamber is also trying to help guests who were planning to stay for the weekend. “If anybody has rooms for the next week or two let the chamber know,” Liszak said.
The chamber can be contact at info@FMBChamber.com or by phone at 239-454-7500.
The hotel, located at the intersection of Third St. and Crescent St., suffered damage to two rooms, several windows and six doors, Birkart said.
Birkart said she believed the fire started after a guest put out a cigarette in a flower pot that had mulch in it. “The fire extinguisher was three feet away. They didn’t even use it. They ran,” she said. “I don’t know what to do but ban cigarettes.”
It could take several days or more before the hotel can open again. The owners have to wait for Florida Power & Light to re-install the meters, Martin said. No guests reported any valuables missing or damaged.
“It’s going to be a little bit until we’re up and running,” Birkart said. “It could have been worse.”