Historic Northern California hotel gutted by fire

A historic, nearly 100-year-old hotel in Northern California that was planned for renovation was gutted by fire over the weekend.

Firefighters with the Marysville Fire Department and other nearby agencies responded to the blaze at Hotel Marysville in the town about 40 miles north of Sacramento around 10 p.m. Saturday, according to the chief of the Linda Fire Protection District, Kyle Heggstrom. Firefighters told people to avoid the building as they tried to stop concrete, bricks and plywood from falling on surrounding streets.

After fighting the blaze for two hours, firefighters determined the structure was in danger of caving in, according to Heggstrom.

"Currently, I am concerned that we will have the potential for collapse due to the extent of the damage," he said.

Backup was called from four fire departments and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection brigades from Butte County and Loma Rica.

No one was injured in the fire and Heggstrom said the cause remains under investigation but is considered "suspicious" in nature. Over the years, there have been half a dozen calls regarding people starting fires inside the building, he said.

A structural engineer is expected to make a determination Monday afternoon on whether the building is safe to enter, according to Heggstrom.

"We're trying to make a determination on if it's structurally sound so that we can send in some crews for clean-up and investigation," he added.

As of Monday afternoon, there was still active fire and smoldering in the interior portion of the building, Heggstrom said. The flames have been contained, however, and Heggstorm doesn't believe the fire could spread to other buildings.

The hotel, built in 1926, was designed by San Francisco architect Edward Glass in the Georgian Revival style. It was registered as a nationally historic landmark in 1999.

The hotel closed in the 1980s and was eventually purchased by developer Lance Robbins with plans to create a housing and nightlife center for the city, according to the hotel website. After Robbins died last year, the 146-room, five-story building was listed on the market for $925,000.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.