Photo Credit: Sarah McClutchy/What'sUpNewp
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This story was originally published at 8:47 pm on May 23. It has been updated.

Newport Fire Department and crews from several local communities battled a four-alarm structure fire at 151 Kalbfus Road, The Wayfinder Hotel, on Monday night.

“At 20:00 hrs Box 1990 was received for 151 Admiral Kalbfus Road. Upon arrival a “Code Red” was called, visible fire could be seen coming from the front side of the building, fire was between floor #1 and floor #2″ an After Action Report filed by Newport Fire Deputy Chief Mark Riding states.

An Engine crew was sent to floor #2 reporting high heat and heavy smoke, according to Riding.

Riding reports that the building was reported evacuated by hotel management and Mutual Aid was called within minutes after arrival.

A third alarm was called at 8:26 pm and later the incident would go to four alarms.

Assets from all of Aquidneck Island, Middletown, Portsmouth, Newport Navy, Bristol, Warren, North Kingstown, Narragansett, Snug Harbor, and East Greenwich reported to the scene, while Warwick and North Kingstown provided station coverage in Newport to cover other calls in the city, according to Riding’s report.

Approximately 90 firefighters responded to the blaze, Chief Donnelly said on Monday night in a press briefing.

The Wayfinder, a 115,000-square-foot hotel and conference center, includes 195 guest rooms, a lobby, fitness center, an outdoor pool, pool shack, a full-service restaurant, cafe, and new meeting and event spaces, according to the hotels wesite.

RIDOT camera view as of 9:12 pm.

“The fast-moving fire moved through void spaces between floors and cockloft area which made for difficult access,” Riding writes.

Around approximately 9 pm, Incident Command ordered firefighters out of the building due to a collapse/compromise on the second floor.

Three Newport firefighters sustained injuries which included two shoulder injuries, one member received stitches to his leg. Another firefighter, Riding writes, fell through a hole in a fourth-floor unit, and was able to be retrieved without injury.

Red Cross, Providence Canteen, and the Rhode Island EMA is providing supplementary assistance and is assisting displaced guests in finding new accommodations.

Dovetail + Co., a hotel ownership and development company led by Phil Hospod, purchased the hotel for $14.34 million in 2019 from Atlantic Beach Hospitality Group.

“It’s all really just awful. We are deeply grateful for the Newport Fire Department and all the surrounding communities that responded,” Phil Hospod, CEO + Founder of Dovetail + Co/owner of The Wayfinder Hotel, told What’sUpNewp on Tuesday morning. “With the support of all the first responders and our local community members, we can confirm that all employees and guests were safely evacuated. At this time, we are solely focused on the well-being of our guests and employees. We appreciate the community’s support during this difficult period and can provide updates as we assess the situation and determine next steps”.

“The fire remains under investigation with the Newport Fire Marshall, Rhode Island State Fire Marshall, Newport Building Inspector will be on scene today (Tuesday)”, according to Riding.

Fire crews remain on the scene and Riding says that they are expecting hot spots throughout the day.

The Wayfinder Hotel was scheduled to host six of the thirteen stand-up comedy shows that make up the annual Rogue Island Comedy Festival this weekend. Doug Key, co-founder of the Rogue Island Comedy Festival, says that he has found new venues to host the shows and will release details soon. Out-of-town comedians were expected to stay at The Wayfinder Hotel, Key is working to find a hotel/hotels that can host the comedians.

This story is developing and will be updated as we learn more.


Reporting From Others

WPRI – 3 firefighters injured in massive Newport hotel fire

WJAR – Flames shoot through roof of Newport hotel

WLNE – Nearly 200 rooms destroyed in fire at Newport hotel


More content from us on The Wayfinder Hotel

March 21, 2021 – Owner of Wayfinder Hotel in Newport acquires hotel in Hawaii, will open as Wayfinder Waikiki

June 3, 2020 – The Wayfinder Hotel, Nomi Park open

Jan. 10, 2020 – Haynes Group tapped to transform The Mainstay Hotel & Conference Center into The Wayfinder

Jan. 30, 2019 – Mainstay Hotel sells for $14.34 million (UPDATED)

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Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

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In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.