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Colo. Resort Hotel Fire Contained

VAIL, Colo. (AP) -- A fire that burned more than five hours was contained early Sunday after forcing the evacuation of scores of guests at a 350-room ski resort hotel, authorities said.

Two firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation or exhaustion, but no other injuries were reported.

Vail Fire Chief John Gulick estimated damage at $20 million.

The alarm at Marriott's Vail Mountain Resort hotel notified authorities of a fire about 8:45 p.m. Saturday, said Suzanne Silverthorn, a spokeswoman for the city.

Authorities immediately evacuated 83 guests from the burning building and 33 from a neighboring building as a precaution, she said. The hotel is composed of three separate structures.

Firefighters declared the fire controlled by 2:40 a.m. Sunday.

Silverthorn said all of the hotel's guests and personnel had been accounted for. The hotel was about 50 percent full, and the guests who were evacuated were relocated to rooms in other buildings.

Gulick said the fire consumed the exterior balconies and siding on the fifth and sixth floors, though much of the interior was intact. Water caused damage on the fifth and six floors, and parts of the fourth-floor ceiling collapsed due to the weight of the water, he said.

Some balconies came crashing to the ground in flames, landing in snow, Silverthorn said.

John Morgan, who was staying in another part of the hotel, said he was in the ballroom when he first realized what was happening.

''Fire alarms went on and off four to five times,'' said Morgan, a Denver resident in Vail for the weekend.

Investigators did not immediately know what caused the blaze.

The hotel, one of Vail's largest, sits at the base of Vail Mountain. The ski season there opened Wednesday.

AP-NY-11-19-00 0732EST< 

-- Rachel Gibson (, November 19, 2000

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