Mad River Union
ARCATA – The Hotel Arcata was evacuated this morning, Jan. 27 after a fire broke out in the dining room of Tomo Japanese Restaurant.
Shortly before 8:30 a.m., Arcata Fire responded to 708 Ninth St. at the entrance to the restaurant, located on the bottom floor of the three-story hotel.
Firefighters could see black smoke billowing inside the restaurant and decided to make entry to battle the blaze. Hotel Arcata management was told by firefighters to immediately evacuate the building. Hotel guests meandered around the Plaza, where the Winter Farmers’ Market was taking place, and were also given the option of staying at the Arcata Fire Station, located within walking distance on Ninth Street.
Firefighters quickly doused the fire, which had broken out near the restaurant’s large fish tank and had climbed up a wall. A black plume of smoke billowed out the restaurant's front door, leaving a sooty haze over the town square. Smoke also entered the hotel upstairs.
Arcata Fire Chief Justin McDonald said the investigation into the cause of the fire was still underway as of this morning.
McDonald said that the damage from the flames was minimal, but the restaurant would require extensive cleaning due to smoke damage. A final damage estimate had not been completed as of this morning.
At about 9:30 a.m., hotel guest were allowed to re-enter the hotel and retrieve their belongings. However, due to elevated carbon dioxide levels, they were instructed to stay no longer than 20 minutes in the building.
Hotel staff opened up most of the hotel’s windows and were airing out the historic structure.
Arcata Fire was assisted by crews from CalFire and Humboldt Bay Fire. There were no injuries reported.