Marriott fire could have been disastrous if woman had not spotted smoke

PULLMAN, WA - A Pullman woman is being praised for helping prevent a serious fire at the new hotel that's under construction on the Washington State University campus.

Pullman Fire Chief, Mike Heston said Amy Winsor called 911 when she saw smoke coming from the third floor of the new Marriott Residence Inn while walking her dog around 2:00 p.m. Sunday Afternoon.

Heston said Pullman police officers were the first to respond with firefighters arriving moments later. They had to force their way into the building, but were able to put the fire out quickly.

"It's very important for citizens going by when they see things like that to call it in right away so we can check on it," said Heston. "That particular building does not have all its fire protection in place yet, so if it hadn't been caught that could have been a very disastrous fire."

Heston said the blaze was confined to some wood surrounding a temporary exhaust pipe connected to a natural gas heater placed in the stairwell. Heston said the exhaust pipe wasn't properly vented to the outside, so it became overhead and started the fire. The damage is estimated at about $2,000.