One Smokin’ Ramada Inn
Sleeping travelers were rousted from bed May 12th when smoke from an ’80s hair-band tribute show in a Kearney, Neb., Ramada Inn’s bar circulated through the 209-room motel.
The Omaha-based band 3-D was on stage at Maxwell’s Live Lounge when police said one of the members used a torch to light alcohol above the dance floor. The band’s singer Alan King was known to regularly “blow a fireball” near the end of its shows, according to the Kearney Hub.
The small fire reportedly torched some ceiling tiles but was quickly put out by a bar manager with a fire extinguisher. However, thick smoke still made its way into a metal air duct above the stage and then throughout the motel.
As many as 44 firefighters and law enforcement officers responded to the 12:22 a.m. call, according to the Hub.
When the source of the smoke in the main building, which includes a large domed area that covers a swimming pool and putting green, couldn’t be quickly identified, the entire motel was evacuated.
Maxwell’s wasn’t immediately identified as the source of the fire because it was apparently the only room that wasn’t full of smoke.
No one was injured during the mishap, though the Ramada Inn sustained an estimated $2,000 in smoke damage.
While the show had all the elements of a Spinal Tap-ish parody, it turns out the motel apparently did not have a policy regarding indoor pyrotechnics that covered fire-breathing cover band frontmen.
“No other band that performs here does anything like that, and if I had known this band did it, I would have put a stop to it before they performed,” Ramada Inn manager Ben Buchanan said.
Kearney Fire Department administrator Ken Tracy also said he doesn’t think the city has any ordinances restricting the use of pyro indoors, either.
Buchanan told the Hub that there is one now, at least at the Kearney Ramada Inn.
“No fire, no fireworks or anything that could lead to a fire will be allowed,” he said. “The safety of our customers, as well as the entertainers we hire, comes first.”
King was reportedly asked by Buchanan not to comment on the incident.