Remote Control Car Blamed For Hotel Fire

A Smithfield hotel damaged by fire Saturday is expected to reopen tonight (Wednesday).

Around 3:45pm Saturday, three fire departments rushed to a fire alarm at the Holiday Inn Express at 190 S. Equity Drive.  Fire crews arrived to find a smoke detector had activated on the fourth floor.

Firemen found workers who said someone smoking had set off the alarm. Firefighters found heavy smoke coming from room 412 causing the sprinkler system to activate.

The hotel was evacuated until the fire was fully contained and the smoke removed from the room.

Johnston County Fire Marshal Adam Stanley said the fire was started in a chair caused by a battery operated remote control car.  The fire was ruled as an accident.

The fire damage was limited however water damage from the sprinkler system in the hotel was more extensive.

Dean Barbour, Director of the Johnston County Building Inspections Department, said final repairs are being made today and the hotel should be reopened for business by tonight.

Damage was estimated Wednesday at $85,000.  Officials did not say how much revenue was lost by the Holiday Inn Express while closed for several days while the fire and water damage was being repairs.

No injuries were reported in Saturday’s fire.