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Fire destroys part of Carefree motel

Fire destroys part of Carefree motel
Fire destroys part of Carefree motel
The lounge, bar and restaurant at the Carefree Days Inn 'are pretty much shot,' said owner David Carter. (Photo by Mike Arnold)

A Saturday morning fire that reignited in the afternoon destroyed part of the Carefree Days Inn at the Interstate 64 and S.R. 66 interchange.
David Carter, owner of the 38-room motel, which also has a lounge and restaurant, said the fire started about 9 a.m. in a deep fryer in the kitchen. A customer used a fire extinguisher to blow the fire out three times, but it kept flaring back up, he said.
Carter said there were 27 employees and customers in the restaurant when the fire began. Neither they nor any of the guests were injured, he said.
Firefighters from the Leavenworth Volunteer Fire Dept. put out the fire, but early that afternoon it reignited and Leavenworth firefighters returned, receiving help from several regional departments.
‘Fire was coming out of the roof vent,’ Carter said.
The Leavenworth VFD remained at the motel overnight.
A fire wall prevented the fire from spreading to the motel. Only the rooms closest to the kitchen were affected, Carter said.
‘Most of the hotel rooms are OK,’ he said.
However, Carter wasn’t as fortunate with the rest of the building, as flames quickly spread throughout the south end.
‘The lounge, bar and restaurant are pretty much shot,’ he said.
Carter said Monday he has talked with the insurance company but does not know if he will be able to rebuild.
‘There’s a chance, but it’s not likely,’ he said.
Carter said he recently had the motel repainted and new carpet installed. He had been considering an addition. The Inn was built in 1989.
Carter owns other businesses in the area, including River View Estates at Leavenworth, and he hopes to find jobs for the motel’s 25 employees.
‘We’ve got some pretty good employees here,’ he said.
This is the second time one of Carter’s businesses has burned. Hickory Ridge Inn, located across the road from the Days Inn, burned in 1987. Carter said the cause of that fire was undetermined, but he believes it may have been an electrical fire.
Also, between 122 and 127 acres at Carefree that Carter leased to two persons burned that same year. That blaze is believed to have started from a trash fire.