Fire destoys Westside hotel under construction

Published On: Dec 24 2013 12:07:21 PM EST
Updated On: Oct 19 2013 08:13:42 PM EDT

VIDEO: An early morning fire on the westside left a hotel that was set to open in a few months burned to the ground.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla -

An early Saturday morning fire ripped through a multi-story hotel under construction on 103rd Street.

The fire started just before 3:30 a.m. Saturday at the Value Place Extended Stay Hotel, which was scheduled to open in February of 2014.  Jacksonville Fire-Rescue personnel said the structure was fully engulfed in flames when the first units arrived.

IMAGES: JFRD photos of 2-alarm fireMore photos

More than 75 firefighters were on scene to battle the flames, which witnesses say were more than 100 feet in the air.

"There was a big concern about surrounding areas to begin with because we had so much fire," said Lt. Mike Peery of Jacksonville Fire Rescue. "We had embers that were traveling by the wind, but we checked all the areas surrounding it and found no damage to any other structures, so we didn't have any other spot fires to worry about."

Firefighters were able to get the blaze under control in about 30 minutes, but heavy smoke kept 103rd Street closed to traffic until after dawn.

No injuries were reported.

"As far as we know, there was nobody present or on property when we arrived, so at this point, we don't have any idea how the fire started," Peery said.

People living near the fire say they heard minor explosions during the fire.  Peery says those explosions were likely from different materials at the construction site.

The State Fire Marshall's office is investigating the cause of the fire.

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