Dalton Fire says hotel passed inspections, after tenants say smoke detectors didn't go off
A fire Sunday morning displaced nearly 40 people at the Underwood Lodge, an extended stay hotel in Dalton. The Dalton Fire Department ruled the fire accidental, but tenants tell our crews their smoke alarms didn’t go off.
Dalton Fire continued their investigation Monday, trying to determine exactly what caused the fire. Two and-a-half units had fire damage and several others had smoke and water damage. No one was hurt, but some residents say things could have been much worse.
“The sprinkler systems, the fire and smoke detectors, none of them went off, but they're looking into it,” Anthony Higgins said.
Several people, including Higgins, told our crews they didn't hear smoke alarms go off. City of Dalton Communications Director Bruce Frazier says that could be because of the building's age.
"If you think about like a hotel that's built now, if one alarm goes off they all go off because they're hardwired into the same system,” he said. “When this building was built the code only required battery-powered smoke alarms."
Frazier says while the complex is required to have working alarms, tenants are on the hook for keeping them plugged in and powered up. In April, Underwood Lodge passed a fire department inspection, including smoke detectors.
"No matter whose responsibility it is, those things need to be working whenever there is an emergency. We usually recommend people check their smoke detectors when the time changes,” Frazier said.
The department has a few more things to investigate, but Frazier says their work is mostly done. A manager at Underwood Lodge declined to give an updated statement because the investigation is ongoing.
Management previously told our crews people living in the impacted complex would be refunded for the remainder of their stay. They also denied having faulty smoke alarms.