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PROVO — A two-alarm fire caused heavy damage to a room at the La Quinta Inn Wednesday.
Firefighters were called about 6:20 a.m to the hotel, 1460 S. University Ave. They arrived to find smoke and fire coming from a second-story room, said Provo Deputy Fire Chief Gary Jolley.
"There was a lot of fire coming out of the heating unit," he said.
The room was vacant. But a guest in a nearby room had opened her window and smoke was filling her room. Jolley said crews set up a ladder and got the woman to safety. She was treated for minor smoke inhalation at the scene but did not require transportation to a local hospital.
Mark Sprenger, a former firefighter from Colorado Springs, was a guest at the hotel Wednesday and in bed when he heard the fire alarm go off.
"I got up and started hearing people knock on the doors," he said.
Sprenger grabbed his laptop and iPad, opened his door and immediately found heavy smoke. He said he dropped to the floor and crawled to the nearest exit along with a couple of other hotel guests.
"I did a lot of this on the other side. First time I've ever been a victim. It was quite an experience. It reminds me again of how quick conditions can get bad in a building," the former firefighter said.
Sprenger said many of the hotel guests were helping each other get out. He believed about 100 people were evacuated.
"It was not your typical morning at La Quinta," he said.
Fire damage was confined to the room where the blaze began while several others suffered smoke damage. A preliminary investigation showed a problem with the fan motor in the heating/cooling unit inside the room malfunctioned and ignited a fire, Jolley said.