A fire at the Golden Gate motel last night is displacing 32 guests, many of them long-term residents of the Scanlon motel.
No one was injured in the fire, which was reported at 1:57 a.m. Thursday. Fire fighters from all three of the Cloquet Area Fire District (CAFD) stations battled the blaze for approximately two hours using three big rigs and a tower truck.
CAFD Chief Kevin Schroeder said the fire was rapidly contained.
“When we got there, one motel room was completely involved with some extension to two others,” Schroeder said, adding that the fire was climbing up the wall and involved the entire front of the two-story building.
While firefighters battled the blaze, police officers were going door to door at the motel, waking residents and telling them to leave their rooms.
“I thought it was a drunk,” resident Gary Anderson said. “But he kept pounding and pounding, but finally I realized it was someone from the end unit. He said ‘the place is burning down.’ I thought he was kidding.”
The fire struck at the middle of the motel, the only place where there is a second story, but didn’t appear to damage the ground-level rooms that extend to either side.
Although most of the residents were able to return to their rooms and go back to bed after the fire, Thursday afternoon a deputy state fire marshal told hotel manager Julie Hall that all of the people staying there would have to find other accommodations, at least in the short term. Hall said the local Red Cross was going to help everyone find a place to stay, adding that she hoped it was just for the short term.