At 9:24 a.m. Tuesday morning, the Lincoln County 911 Communications Center dispatched the Merrill Fire Department for a report of heavy black smoke coming from a room on the first floor at EconoLodge, 200 S. Pine Ridge Ave., Merrill. Initial response from Merrill Fire Department included Engine 62, Medic 61, and Truck 63. Command from Engine 62 requested WPS, and Merrill Water Department to the scene. Command further requested Mutual Aid in the form of a Engine from Pine River F. D. and Tomahawk EMS to standby in Merrill. Traffic control and assistance with evacuation of occupants was provided by Merrill Police Department.
Upon arrival, the shift commander reported no smoke showing from the building. Command ordered the first arriving crew to initiate an investigation and deploy pre-connected hose line. When the fire company made entry into the structure, they advanced their way to the room of origin where they found heavy black smoke inside the room and a small amount of fire in the bathroom. They extinguished the fire, and a positive pressure ventilation fan was used to clear the room and building of smoke. Interior crews then conducted a thorough search of the building going to each room. Using a Thermal Imaging Camera, companies checked for any extension of the fire, none was found.
Interviews were conducted by the fire department with the building owner, staff and occupants of the fire room. The occupant had left the room for work around 5:30 a.m. and noted nothing wrong in the room. The Fire Department’s initial investigation of the fire determined the cause is most likely electrical in origin. No injuries to citizens or on scene response personnel were reported. The damage is estimated at $10,000 from building and contents.