Portsmouth hotel fire

Firefighters from three communities quickly knocked down a fire that started outside Anchorage Inn and Suites on Woodbury Avenue in Portsmouth on Thursday.

PORTSMOUTH — The Anchorage Inn and Suites in Portsmouth was evacuated Thursday morning after a fire on the west side of the building.

Manager Meena Rai said the fire started outside and quickly spread up the side of the hotel.

“There is a trash can there. Somebody threw a cigarette or something like that in there,” Rai said.

Rai said their occupancy was low but people from nine rooms had to be evacuated.

“That was our main concern, that everybody is okay,” Rai said.

She and other staff members were very concerned about a guest who uses a walker to get around. She has been staying at the hotel for about six weeks as she rehabilitates.

The woman was not in her room at the time of the fire.

“Luckily, she had her cellphone and we could contact her,” Rai said.

Rai was hoping for the same thing. She said since the west and east wings use separate power, they may not have to shut down just days before Memorial Day weekend.

Firefighters from Portsmouth, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and Kittery, Maine, responded to the one-alarm fire, which was called in around 11:25 a.m.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, cigarette fires cause close to 1,000 deaths and 3,000 injuries each year in the United States.