ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys – A New Year’s Eve fire at the 199-room Cheeca Lodge Resort & Spa left the resort’s main building heavily damaged, but there were no injuries to guests, staff or firefighters, officials said Thursday.
The resort is temporarily closed to guests until management can complete assessments to effect repairs to the main building and restore telecommunications system that was damaged.
Resort staff helped relocate guests and advised travelers with near-future Cheeca reservations to call their off-site reservations center at 1-800-541-3491 or (305) 470-1955 to determine the resort’s status. A resort spokeswoman said vacationers who cannot be accommodated will receive full refunds and help with travel plans to other Keys resorts.
The Islamorada Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-FAB-KEYS is also assisting travelers who need to locate other resorts in the region.
The fire began on a thatched awning on the front of the building and quickly spread round the backside. The building encompasses administrative offices, lobby a restaurant, conference center and 49 guest rooms.
No other buildings on the property were impacted and the conference center and administrative offices survived without incident. Other areas of the building were heavily impacted by smoke and water pumped to douse the flames, officials said.
Islamorada fire-rescue personnel and Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputies assisted resort staff members to safely evacuate guests from the building. About 80 firefighters responding from as far away as Marathon and Miami-Dade assisted efforts to extinguish the blaze, according to Islamorada Fire Chief William A. Wagner, III
Cause of the fire is under investigation by the state fire marshal’s office. “Foul play” has been ruled out, Wagner said.