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Fire damages roof of Motel 6 in Ferndale

A fire on the roof of a Motel 6 in Ferndale sent one woman to St. Joseph hospital Tuesday evening, May 12.

Click here for photos of the damage.

Suman Kumar, a new general manager who moved to Ferndale four weeks ago, said a co-worker came into the lobby around 5:45 p.m. asking about “chimney smoke” coming from the office of the motel at 5671 Riverside Drive. Kumar dialed 9-1-1 as she ran upstairs to a balcony that overlooks, and basically touches, the roof of the office.

She saw heavy smoke billowing from a single slanted blue metal sheet that covers the roof’s shingles. Armed with a fire extinguisher, she put out as much of the flame and heat as she could before firefighters from Whatcom County Fire District 7 reached the scene.

Guests were evacuated. No one suffered serious injuries, but one woman was taken to the hospital by ambulance for dizziness and nausea.

The office, on the south side of the motel, is separate from the building that houses about 100 guest rooms. No rooms were affected, and the motel remained open for business Tuesday evening.

For years the business was the Scottish Lodge, but recently it was franchised as a Motel 6.

As part of recent major renovations, contractors were using torches to reroof the office until about two hours before the fire. Fire Chief Gary Russell said he suspects heat got trapped beneath the metal sheeting, leading to the fire. Repairs will likely cost several thousand dollars, he said.

For now firefighters wrapped plastic over the damage to keep the rain off.