Fire Evacuates the Holiday Inn

By: Erica Rakow Email
By: Erica Rakow Email

Panama City Beach-- The spring break party at the Holiday Inn on Front Beach Road moved into the streets for about an hour Sunday evening. Everyone was evacuated when a tiki hut on the west side of the hotel caught fire.

"It ended up being their storage area. It's a thatched roof that covers that storage area. Not sure of the cause at this point but that's what was on fire," said Captain Steve Miller with Panama City Beach Fire Rescue.

Chelsea Kappa, a spring breaker from Ohio, is staying at the hotel. She had to do a double take when she the fire while ordering a sandwich at Subway across the street.

"I looked across the street and saw shooting flames from our hotel and I wasn't really sure what I was seeing. I was like that's not happening right now. And then I told my roommate, she looked around and she was like yeah, our hotel's on fire," said Chelsea Kappa, a hotel guest from Ohio.

A couple of guests who were on the fifth floor were treated on scene for smoke inhalation.

"Being that it's thatched, they did have heavy smoke; we could actually see the smoke from Highway 79 when we left Station 1 so they had a lot of smoke in their rooms," said Captain Miller.

Hotel security and staff evacuated everyone in a matter of minutes and firefighters were able to put the blaze out quickly.

"Thankfully our team was ready and did a fantastic job. We're so thankful everyone's safe," said Julie Hilton, Owner of the Holiday Inn.

Officials have not confirmed the cause of the fire. The state fire marshal will investigate.


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