NH’s Red Jacket Resort Keeps Staff Paid During Rebuild
A week after fire burned its south wing, the owners of the Red Jacket Mountain Resort in North Conway said it will keep their employees paid and working until the property is able to reopen.
The massive fire destroyed 75 rooms and forced 155 guests to find other accommodations as their belongings were lost to the fire and the wing was demolished. Some were evacuated wearing only their bathing suits, as they had been at the Kahuna Laguna indoor water park. Other guests jumped to safety from their room balconies.
Resort management said the property will stay closed until at least the end of May. In the meantime, the resort said its efforts will dually be focused on supporting the team and developing a path forward to reopen and rebuild.
"All employees will receive full compensation as we work with them on their individualized transition plan," the resort said in a statement.
Staying on the Job
Human resources staff met with employees during the week to determine each individual's next best step. Some employees will remain in North Conway as the resort recovers from the fire, while others will relocate to one of the company's other properties.
According to the company website, it has five resorts on Cape Cod.
Several local businesses have offered employment opportunities.
The Red Jacket also offered its gratitude to firefighters, first responders, and the community.
"We continue to be deeply moved by the outpouring of support from the local community, and for the first responders and fellow colleagues who reacted so fast to ensure the most valuable part of our property - the people - made it out safely," the resort said in a statement.
Alarms and Smoke Detectors But No Sprinkler System
The state Fire Marshal's office said the investigation into a cause of the fire was continuing. It also offered a clarification about fire protection at the resort, after North Conway Fire Chief Pat Preece said there was not a sprinkler system in the south wing. The wing was built in the 1970s, when it was not required.
"Automatic sprinkler systems in new hotels became a fire code requirement
in 1991 for buildings that are not high-rises," the Fire Marshal's office said.
Each room was equipped with local, hardwired smoke alarms with battery back-up, in addition to a fire alarm system heat detector, according to the Fire Marshal's office.
"The smoke alarms were designed to sound only in the individual guest rooms, once activated. The heat detector would set off the building fire alarm system, once activated," the office said in a statement.
The hallways had a fire alarm system, smoke detectors, and alarm notification devices with horns and stones that Peece said were activated.
"The Office of the State Fire Marshal would advocate for owners to consider automatic sprinkler systems as part of capital projects," it said in a statement.
The Fire Marshal's office asked anyone with information regarding the fire to contact them at 603-223-4289.