Smoldering rags brought fire trucks to The Sanctuary Hotel on Kiawah Island Tuesday but did not cause any guests to be evacuated, a hotel spokesman said today.

Unlike a similar incident about three weeks earlier, the smoke did not set off fire alarms and nobody had to leave the hotel, spokesman Mike Vegis said today. It was initially reported that the fire alarm had gone off and guests went outside briefly. That wasn’t the case, Vegis said.

Firefighters were called to the exclusive hotel shortly before 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. Crews from the St. John’s and James Island fire departments responded. By that time, hotel staff had broken a lock to get into the area where a cleaning company had stored the rags, taken the rags outside and doused them with a fire extinguisher, St. John’s Fire District Battalion Chief James Ghi said. Firefighters stayed to help blow smoke out of the basement garage area and to figure out what caused the rags to start smoldering, he said.

A similar rag fire brought fire trucks to the hotel about noon March 30. Both fires were in the same storage room, and both involved the same cleaning company, Ghi said.

The cleaning company will be given a citation for improperly storing combustible materials and some more education on how to keep it from happening again, Ghi said.

The rags were stored in a plastic container. Oily rags are supposed to be stored in a metal bucket with a locking lid, Ghi said.

The cleaning crew had washed the rags that started smoldering but apparently didn’t clean them well enough, Vegis said. In the future, no rags will be stored at the hotel, he said.

“We’re addressing this to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.

At this point, there are no plans to change cleaning companies, he said.

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

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553 or