UPDATE: Fire guts SL motel

Photo provided by Molly Schwartz


Vista motel fire ruled accidental    

An investigation into a fire at the Vista Economy Inn at 1316 North Lake Ave. determined the origin of the fire was the attic space above the office area of the motel. The fire is believed to be accidental; however, due to the extreme amount of damage, the exact cause is undetermined.


Damages exceed $200K, police say        

Fire gutted a Storm Lake motel amidst severe thunderstorms early Tuesday morning.

Firefighters were dispatched to Storm Lake’s Vista Economy Inn June 17 at 12:08 a.m. in reference to a fire stemming from the front office in the south complex. Vista Economy is composed of two complexes, north and south. The north complex was unaffected.

The flames eventually reached the attic of the south complex and roiled continuously. The blaze eventually burned through the roof and consumed the entire building.

Firefighters were on the scene for three and a half hours to subdue the flames.

No guests were injured as police arrived before the building was fully engulfed. However, many guests were unable to save their possessions and subsequently left with nothing.

Tyler Wittich, a resident of Oklahoma and construction worker in Albert City, saw the blaze consume his residence.

“We left with the clothes on our backs,” Wittich told the Times Tuesday morning. Wittich, his wife and son resided in the motel and evacuated as soon as the fire started.

The fire taxed the North Lake Avenue motel for more than half of its estimated value. The property is assessed at $400,000 for tax purposes.

The fire caused damages exceeding $200,000, according to police.

The fire remains under investigation.