Willis Park Hotel catches fire, floods Sio’s

Published 4:18 pm Friday, January 15, 2021

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Tyler Thomas had just tucked his daughter in bed when he received a call from The American sous chef Mason Stuart about his other property, The Willis Park Hotel.

Set to open soon, Stuart informed Thomas that the fire alarm was going off and that smoke was in the air.

Thomas then rushed out of his home and met Stuart in front of the property.

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He and Stuart climbed the stairs to the hotel, looking for where the smoke was coming from. They quickly realized the smoke was too thick and they needed to evacuate. As they fled down the stairs, Thomas dialed 911 and requested assistance.

Within minutes, Bainbridge Public Safety Fire Chief Doyle Welch and volunteer crews were on scene.

Welch and his team located the point of origin as the corner in the front right room.

“We had to cut a hole in the wall and in the floor joist, because the fire got into the floor joist and in the attic,” Welch said.

Despite having to cut two holes in the property, Welch assured there was minimal damage.

“I’m really thankful for Bainbridge Public Safety,” Thomas said. “They had to tear up some stuff, but they did it in a very delicate way and I appreciate the way they handled it.”

While putting out the fire, the hose water flooded into Sio’s beneath the Willis Park Hotel.

Engineers worked to push the water out and fan the room once they had put out the flames, but contractors could be found at Sio’s on Thursday afternoon working to replace the flooring.

In addition to the flooring, contractors indicated they plan to remove all ceiling tiles and let the bead board flooring from the Willis Park Hotel be the new ceiling of Sio’s.

Welch said the cause is still under investigation, but it is believed a fan of some sort caused the fire. Welch cannot confirm the item was a fan, as it was the only item unintelligible from the fire damage.