CORNWALL – Scores of people at Ramada Cornwall were forced into the cold, damp night after a suspected cigarette fire.
It happened around 6:15 p.m. Saturday night as patrons were dining and a banquet was about to get underway at the hotel and conference center at 805 Brookdale Avenue.
Diane Hunter was eating at the BrookValley Grille when smoke started to fill the room.
“You could start to smell a little bit of smoke but they have a gas fireplace so in my head I thought it was the fireplace,” Hunter said. “The room started getting quite smoky. We could see the management running around looking to see what was going on.”
Roughly five minutes later everyone in the building was evacuated, Hunter said.
It’s believed a cigarette butt was thrown into a wood chip flower bed, which caught a support column on fire attached to the hotel.
Firefighters had to cut the column open with a chainsaw to douse the flames.
There were no apparent injuries.
Everyone was allowed to go back inside by 7:00 p.m.