Fireworks blamed for brush fire

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Fireworks apparently are to blame for a brush fire between the Holiday Inn and Traveler Inn Saturday.

Craig Fire/Rescue received calls from both hotels early Saturday afternoon after the flames picked up and rapidly approached both buildings.

Fire/Rescue Chief Chris Nichols said due to the amount of wind, the fire traveled quickly and put both buildings, and especially the Traveler Inn, in danger.

Nichols said the fire required all brush units to respond, and the response was quick enough that no damage was caused to either building.

Tammie Thompson-Booker, the director of sales for Holiday Inn and manager on-duty over the weekend, said a guest came running in to report smoke.

As a precaution, Holiday Inn evacuated all people from the back side of the building.

Thompson-Booker said the fire picked up "extremely fast," and she was happy Craig Fire/Rescue reacted in a timely fashion.

"We're glad they got it taken care of so quickly," she said.

Rin Choi, the office manager for the Traveler Inn, said he looked out the back of the building and saw flames and smoke.

"The smoke was so thick I couldn't go outside," he said.

Choi said the Traveler Inn evacuated all residents because he estimated the flames from the fire were only four or five feet away from the building.

Choi also said if the Fire/Rescue hadn't responded when they did, something "disastrous" may have happened.

"If they got here five or 10 minutes later, the fire would have gotten to the back of the building where the laundry and boilers are," he said. "I have no doubt."

No suspect was arrested for starting the fire.

Both the Moffat County Sheriff's and the Craig Police Department said despite the high number of calls for illegal fireworks, they issued no citations over the weekend.

Forest Service Spokeswoman Diann Ritschard said they received no reports, except for the one in Craig, about fireworks related brush fires in Northwestern Colorado.

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