Crews were on scene in downtown Savannah Monday to work a fire that started around 8:45 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency hotel on Bay Street.
Police say guests and staff of the Hyatt were evacuated from the hotel while crews investigated the cause of the fire, which was later identified as an issue started in a cooking lines in the hotel’s kitchen.
Bay Street was shut down for several hours, along with sidewalks along the Hyatt’s exterior on River Street from Bull to Whitaker streets.
Officials say three people sustained minor injuries from the incident. Two of the injured were transported to Memorial for treatment; One with an ankle injury and another with respiratory issues. The third person injured on scene refused treatment.
We first became aware of this fire after observing a massive, dark cloud of smoke coming from the side of the structure on WTOC’s Downtown Skycam during our live broadcast on Bounce TV.
Here’s an account of the incident from a guest who was forced to evacuate the hotel shortly before her family was supposed to check out and drive back to Atlanta. She says it was very unexpected and described the situation as chaos.
“As soon as we left, all the fire engines, all the ambulances, major chaos, got here and saw what happened, saw people being taken off ambulances, and smoke coming out the doors, pretty crazy,” said Lizzie Lamoine, Hyatt guest.
“I think the hotel staff did a great job of getting us out the hotel staff was there directing us what to do. It was orderly it was speedy, I thought they did an awesome job,” said Illa Moore, Hyatt guest.
Firefighters also shut down Bay Street to allow for any emergency vehicles to get through making for a tough commute for many on Monday morning. Firefighters fought the fire from inside, got that under control very quickly, and then had to attack from the outside as it flared up in the exhaust system.
Two ladder trucks in use, one on the Bay Street level, the other on River Street, to attack and keep the fire from spreading.
“Our normal high rise, we would add one engine to our normal structure fire response, so we had that then we added a second alarm, which brought double the resources,” said Mark Keller, public information officer for Savannah Fire and Emergency Services.
The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police and Savannah Fire responded to the scene.
The hotel was back in business by noon.