The South Jacksonville Fire Department responded to a call of an automatic fire alarm at the Holiday Inn Express located at 2501 Holiday Lane in South Jacksonville at approximately 1:47 pm.
According to a report by South Jacksonville Fire Chief Richard Evans, while en-route dispatch advised that a smoke detector and water flow alarm was coming from room 218. On arrival, South Jacksonville Police advised there was smoke on the 2nd floor and all occupants had safely been evacuated.
According to Evans, fire crews encountered heavy smoke in the 2nd-floor hallway. SJFD crews entered room 218 to find the fire was kept in check by the sprinklers being activated. Crews searched room 218 and the adjoining rooms 216 and 220 with no occupants found.
The fire was contained to room 218 and the entire 2nd floor had to be ventilated due to the amount of smoke. Evans says smoke damage occurred on all 3 floors of the hotel as well as significant water damage to the 1st and 2nd floors.
An initial investigation of a cause points in the direction of an air conditioner unit in room 218 that malfunctioned. The hotel is currently closed until repairs and cleanup are performed.
Approximately 6-7 rooms were occupied for the evening and night. Occupants were assisted with gathering their belongings and Holiday Inn Express Manager was making arrangements for them at another hotel.
It is unknown at this time what the dollar amount of loss is from the incident. The Jacksonville Fire Department responded to assist automatic mutual aid and the Woodson Fire Department was put on standby if further assistance was needed.