Crews Attack Fire on Roof of Historic Downtown Kalispell Hotel

Firefighters quickly suppressed a blaze that sparked on the roof of the iconic Kalispell Grand Hotel in downtown

By Dillon Tabish
Firefighters respond to a blaze that broke out on the roof the Kalispell Grand Hotel on Wednesday evening. Justin Franz | Flathead Beacon

Fire crews quickly suppressed a blaze Wednesday evening that sparked on the roof of the historic Kalispell Grand Hotel in downtown as guests evacuated their rooms and part of Main Street was closed for nearly half an hour.

Kalispell Fire Chief Dave Dedman said an initial investigation indicates a shortage in the electrical wiring of the building’s neon sign caused the fire to break out on the roof, leading to reported flames as high as six feet. Crews from Kalispell and Evergreen responded around 7:40 p.m., along with city police officers who closed the southbound lanes of Main Street while crews rushed to suppress the flames.

Once power was eliminated to the sign, firefighters made quick work of the fire, requiring minimal suppression, Dedman said.

There did not appear to be any significant damage to the building’s interior but Dedman estimated the roof damages to be roughly $5,000.

Guests were able to return inside within half an hour and the street was reopened.

Dedman said the fire presented an increased risk because the 103-year-old hotel does not have a fire protection system, as well as being an iconic site in downtown.

“This is a beautiful building but there is no fire protection system. We were able to put it out pretty quickly luckily,” he said.

Opened in 1912, the Kalispell Grand Hotel is considered a downtown landmark with its three-story brick building that attracted the likes of famed Montana artist Charles M. Russell and author Frank Linderman in the early 20th century.

The fire marked the second incident in downtown Kalispell that started due to a shortage in a sign’s electrical wiring this year. A similar roof fire erupted at the 406 Bar & Grille a block away from the hotel in April.

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