Front Royal motel ravaged by flames

Shiv Patel, manager of the Sunshine Inn in Front Royal, walks past debris in the parking lot of the South Royal Avenue business Monday afternoon following a fire on Saturday. Rich Cooley/Daily
Beds are stacked outside the parking lot of the Sunshine Inn following a fire that gutted a motel room and caused smoke damage throughout the building on Saturday. Rich Cooley/Daily

Several residents were displaced when a fire broke out at the Sunshine Inn at 416 S. Royal Avenue in Front Royal on Saturday morning.

Shiv Patel, manager of the Sunshine Inn, said he wasn’t there when the fire started around 10:30 a.m., but arrived shortly afterward.

“I came within ten minutes after it happened,” he said. “The owners themselves were here. It was all covered in flames. All I could see was red and black, holes in the roof. All we could do was stand outside. You could see the damage everywhere with flames starting in random spots. You couldn’t see anything. … It wasn’t fun to watch.”

Patel said he wasn’t positive where the fire began but said that it may have started in a corner room.

“It could’ve been that the flames were more extreme over there but it looks like it started in a corner room,” he said.

Patel said that roughly seven to 10 people were staying in the motel and were a mix of weekly and daily customers.

Patel was uncertain about plans to rebuild, but said significant work would be required to operate the building as a motel again.

“By the conditions of it, it looks like we’re going have to (rebuild). One half of the building we do. We have to match it to the other side. … It all depends on how much we get from insurance. … It should take five to six months. Hopefully it’ll be sooner.”

Patel said that most of those displaced by the fire are staying with relatives until other arrangements can be made.

One resident is Eddie Henderson, a Front Royal construction worker and brother of Duane Henderson, owner of Henderson’s Towing. Duane Henderson said his brother was able to get out safely, but most of his belongings were lost.

“The only thing he was able to save was an American flag that we gave him when my dad passed away and Eddie got that and I think a wedding picture and a pool stick was all he was able to salvage from it,” Duane Henderson said.

Duane Henderson said he posted a request for the donation of necessities and that the community has been pitching in.

“I just put it out on Facebook, if anyone could help with some clothes, linens or personal hygiene stuff, if anybody could help out in the community,” he said. “We’ve had a pretty good amount of people offering to help and we’ve gotten some clothes donations and a couple gift cards from people yesterday and today.”

Calls to Warren County Fire and Rescue were not returned on Monday, but the department’s Facebook page notes that crews responded to the fire at 10:37 a.m. Saturday and the fire was brought under control within 30 to 40 minutes.

“The cause of the fire remains under investigation but investigators from the Fire Marshals Office have ruled out any suspicious activity,” the post states. “Damages from the fire incident are estimated to be $400,000. One firefighter was treated and transported to the local hospital center for heat exhaustion.”

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com.

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