Guests evacuated from Wort Hotel due to smoke

JACKSON, Wyo. — Roughly 50 guests were evacuated from the Wort Hotel last night after something in a duct started smoking.

Wort General Manager Jim Waldrop said the call came in at about 11:30 p.m. December 19 that smoke had engulfed hallway in the back of the hotel. By the time Waldrop arrived, firemen and Wort staff had already safely evacuated all guests.

“I’m very very proud of my staff and how they executed [the evacuation] according to plan.”

Guests were evacuated for about an hour and a half, until Jackson Hole Fire/EMS restarted the alarm system and gave guests the OK to return to their rooms.

The incident was all smoke and no fire, and there is no cosmetic damage to the hotel outside of the smoking duct. All things considered, Waldrop said he feels lucky and “very relieved.”

“On the drive in from home, there were one in a million things running through my head,” he said. Recent structure fires at the Rusty Parrot and Cafe Genevieve made him prepare for the worst. But things worked out as best they could.

I’m “very very thankful” to everyone involved, Waldrop said: his staff, Jackson Hole Fire/EMS, the guests for their patience. He’s also especially grateful to Vicki Garnick, who opened the doors to the Jackson Hole Playhouse and personally escorted guests inside so they had somewhere warm to wait.

“It was so genuine and heartfelt, not only to me but to the guests,” Waldrop said.

There were a few patrons in the Siller Dollar, too, but most had already settled up and left safely. The bartenders, Waldrop said, were “instrumental in assessing the situation early on.”

The incident was a lesson to “count your blessings every day,” Waldrop said. He’s certainly counting his today.

Jackson Hole Fire/EMS and the Wort Hotel are investigating the cause of the smoke.

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