A South Dakota man is dead after the Downtown Motel in St. Charles erupted in flames Thursday night.
The St. Charles Fire Department was called to the Whitewater Avenue lodging facility as it went up in flames just before 11 p.m. Thursday. The fire killed 47-year-old Vincent Wright of Avon, S.D., but three unrelated guests staying at the motel, and the motel owner’s family escaped without harm.
“By the time we got there the fire had engulfed the entire eastern portion of the building and fire was through the roof and coming out the windows,” St. Charles Fire Chief Lyle Peterson said. “
Peterson said firefighters extinguished the blaze around 3:30 a.m., but returned an hour later when it reignited. Firefighters cleared the scene shortly before 8 a.m. Friday morning.
The interior and exterior of the building sustained extensive damage. Winona area American Red Cross volunteers provided canteen services to rescue workers throughout the night, and is helping the motel owner’s family find shelter.
The state fire marshal is investigation the fire, and Peterson said the cause of the fire has yet to be determined.
The Downtown Motel is a 10-room lodging facility that provided year-round, inexpensive single and double rooms to visitors of Whitewater Park for many years.