Two killed, three injured in fire

Deborah Prescott | Daily Press Strong winds push back water from fire hoses as firefighters battle a blaze at the Delta Inn Thursday

ESCANABA — Two people were killed and three others were injured in a fire at the Delta Inn Motel in Escanaba Thursday afternoon.

Escanaba Public Safety responded to a report of a room on fire at the motel, located at 2414 Ludington St., at 12:40 p.m. When they arrived, flames had already breached the roof of the two-story building. Second-story occupants were escaping the fire by climbing on the roof of the Hiawatha Motel next door. Bystanders and officers were helping the occupants get to safety.

The hotel’s west side was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived on scene, and a request was made for the Ford River Township and Escanaba Township fire departments to help combat the blaze. High winds made for extreme conditions as firefighters fought the blaze. Escanaba Public Safety deployed its ladder truck and Escanaba Township Fire Department deployed its platform unit as they battled the second-story fire and worked to protect the Hiawatha Motel.

Ultimately, it took about three hours for firefighters to bring the fire under control. Roughly three dozen firefighters and seven fire trucks were involved.

When the fire was completely extinguished and the building was determined structurally sound to enter, firefighters removed two bodies from the scene. One victim was a 72-year-old male and the other was a 17-year-old male. Both victims were Escanaba residents who lived at the motel.

Multiple occupants escaped the fire, but three sustained injuries in the process. One of the occupants, a 66-year-old man, was transported to OSF HealthCare St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group by Rampart EMS for severe burns and was later taken to St. Mary’s Burn Center in Milwaukee. Another occupant, a 60-year-old man, was transported to OSF St. Francis and transferred to UP Health System in Marquette for a fractured spine sustained from jumping to safety. The last injured occupant, a 73-year-old man, was transported to OSF St. Francis for minor burns and was released.

According to a representative of the American Red Cross of Wisconsin, Red Cross disaster volunteers were helping six Delta Inn residents with assistance for temporary lodging, access to health/mental health resources and other basic needs as of Thursday evening. Meals for these residents were organized for Thursday night and Friday, as well. The Red Cross had also made contact with five other residents who had other accommodations through at least Thursday night.

Due to the fire, the city of Escanaba experienced a city-wide discoloration of water. A press release issued by the city’s water department stated the discolored water is safe to drink and just needed time to settle. City officials said water lines would be flushed in the areas closest to the fire this morning if discoloration continues. For questions or concerns, contact the water department at 906-786-3291.

Escanaba Public Safety thanked the Ford River Township Fire Department, Escanaba Township Fire Department, Rampart EMS, Delta County Central Dispatch, Michigan State Police – Gladstone Post, Delta County Sheriff’s Office, Escanaba City Electric, DTE, Delta County Victim Advocacy, the American Red Cross and bystanders who tried to help the occupants to safety for their efforts. It also voiced its condolences to the families who lost loved ones in the fire and gave its support to the families of the injured individuals.

The cause of the fire will be investigated by the Michigan State Police – Fire Marshal Division. No further information will be released at this time, Escanaba Public Safety said.


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