BERKELEY -- Police and fire investigators are still trying to determine what sparked a three-alarm fire that caused at least $200,000 damage to the Nash Hotel and residents' belongings Tuesday morning, a fire official said Wednesday.
Firefighters rescued 12 people from the three-story historic hotel about a block from UC Berkeley in the city's downtown. Four people were treated for minor injuries at the scene, said Acting Deputy Chief Avery Webb.
Designed by San Francisco architect August G. Headman, the Nash Hotel was built in 1924 and has maintained much of its original architecture. It is considered a historical landmark in Berkeley and is used by travelers, students and visiting professors alike.
The fire broke out about 7:40 a.m. at the hotel at 2045 University Ave., and the fire was under control by at 8:25 a.m. The cause of the blaze has not been determined but it doesn't appear to be arson, Webb said.
"So far I haven't heard anything that points to (arson)," Webb said.
The fire likely started in a room on the second floor and much of the damage was to that room, a hallway and a room below, Webb said. The hotel has 40 rooms and was only half full at the time of the fire, but the smoky fire made getting out of the building difficult, he said.
Evacuations were also ordered at the nearby University Hotel but people returned to their rooms later Tuesday morning.
It's not clear when the building will be open again as an electrical shutdown and plumbing problems are making the hotel temporarily uninhabitable, Webb said. The American Red Cross is providing long-term hotel residents with shelter through Friday.