Early morning fire damages historic hotel in Banff
Published Thursday, December 29, 2016 6:37AM MST Last Updated Thursday, December 29, 2016 6:54PM MST
Fire crews battled a fire at the Mount Royal Hotel on Banff Avenue that broke out early Thursday morning.
An RCMP constable on patrol noticed smoke billowing from the roof of the hotel at approximately 2:20 a.m. and fire crews were dispatched to the scene.
Three RCMP officers entered the building, activated the fire alarm and began evacuating guests from the hotel.
Fire crews from Canmore, Exshaw and Lake Louise were also called to assist the Banff Fire Department. The blaze was extinguished after a battle that lasted throughout the morning
Firefighters remained on scene into the afternoon to ensure hotspots did not reignite.
A hotel spokesperson with Brewster Travel says the roof of the hotel was under renovation and the fire started within the construction materials. The exact cause of the fire has not been confirmed.
No injuries have been reported. The hotel had 297 registered guests Wednesday night including 41 children..
Mark Breary, a visitor from the U.K., said the fire's reach approached his hotel room.
"We went to bed at 11:00 p.m. and woke up to the fire alarm going off at 2:30 and then we evacuated the hotel and saw the roof was on fire," recalled Breary. "You could see the flames billowing out of the roof and the smoke. It was quite large flames at that point.
"It's scary thinking that we were in the hotel just a few hours ago. We were on the second floor too; we weren't far away. We were underneath where the fire took hold."
Breary said hotel staff came out to ensure all guests were safe. A U.K. travel agent has already arranged accommodations for the Brearys at another hotel in Banff but the famility is concerned their possessions, including their passports, cannot be retrieved from the Mount Royal Hotel.
The full extent of the damage to the hotel's interior has not been confirmed but investigators say the roof was destroyed.
Brewster Travel says the Mount Royal Hotel is scheduled to reopen in the summer 2017. The 135-room Mount Royal Hotel was built in 1908 and was rebuilt in 1967 following a fire.
Traffic on Banff Avenue was halted in the vicinity of Caribou Street for several hours. The road reopened to vehicular traffic shortly before 5:00 p.m.