🔴 A search continues for two unaccounted guests at the Days Inn of Kittery after a fire

🔴 "The building is a total loss," Kittery Fire Chief David O'Brien said.

🔴 Gusty winds fanned the flames, helping it to grow quickly

The Days Inn in Kittery is a total loss, and at least two people are unaccounted for following a fire Wednesday afternoon.

Fueled by gusty winds, the fire at the hotel on the Route 1 Bypass was reported around 12:30 p.m. and quickly spread, sending plumes of thick black smoke into the air that could be seen for miles around.

Kittery Fire Chief David O'Brien said during a media briefing that tankers had to be brought in as the fire grew from the mid-section, where it is believed to have started.

"The building is a total loss," O'Brien said. "There is nothing left except a bunch of rubble."

Days Inn of Kittery after a fire 5/17/23
Days Inn of Kittery after a fire 5/17/23 (Robert Nettles)

Inaccurate Count of Guests

Two people staying at the hotel have not been accounted for. Heavy fire prevented firefighters from entering the room.

"Kittery firefighters made a concerted effort to go into that building, a heavily involved building, and do a search in a specific room. They could not get there. They went in without any protective fire lines to do a search. They got within a couple of doors of that room, but got pushed back," O'Brien said.

O'Brien asked anyone who knew of someone staying at the hotel to contact his department at 207-439-1638. Poor record-keeping by the hotel has hindered the ability to determine who was staying at the hotel.

"Some records were not fully up to date," O'Brien said. "The fire marshal is working through that."

Two people, including a firefighter, were hospitalized due to the fire.

Kittery Town Manager Kendra Amaral mentioned notices of violations made against the property in late 2018 through 2019 concerning heating, fire code violations, and ventilation issues. They were resolved in late 2019.

In early May, the owners of the hotel submitted a plan to demolish the hotel, built in 1994, to build a new 107-room, four-story building. It was to have a hearing on May 25 at the planning zone meeting.

Fire at the Days Inn of Kittery 5/17/23
Fire at the Days Inn of Kittery 5/17/23 (Elizabeth Dinan @DinanElizabeth via Twitter)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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