Fire at Sanctuary leads to brief evacuation

The Sanctuary Hotel was evacuated Saturday afternoon while a fire in the basement garage area of the swanky Kiawah Island resort was extinguished.

The cause was “spontaneous ignition” of oily rags and mop heads in a plastic container in a storage room, according to the St. John’s Fire and Rescue Department. They were left there by the subcontracted night cleaning crew, according to a resort spokesman.

No one was injured.

“There was a lot of smoke because of the oily rags, but it was immediately put out,” said Mike Vegis, the resort spokesman.

Firefighters responded to 1 Sanctuary Beach Drive just after noon, but the hotel’s sprinkler system had already put out the fire with only one sprinkler head activating, according to a fire department news release.

Occupants of the beachfront hotel had to stand outside for about 20 minutes after the alarm sounded, according to Vegis. He said most of the hotel’s 255 rooms are rented for the Easter weekend.

“The only feedback we’ve gotten from guests is some people had a little later check-in than normal because cleaning crews couldn’t clean,” Vegis said. “We’ll probably have to comp some meals and spa treatments that were interrupted by this.”

Inconvenience aside, “everything worked the way it was supposed to,” Vegis said.

“Obviously we’ll have discussions with our subcontractor,” he said.

The Sanctuary, which opened in 2004, is a AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star property, the top ratings available.

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