Update: Richmond's historic International Hotel, red tagged after fire

Update: Richmond's historic  International Hotel, red tagged after fire
Historic International Hotel red tagged and slated for demolition city records show. Photos/ Linda Hemmila

The historic International Hotel, where the Pullman Brotherhood of Black Sleeping Car Porters Union members would stay during Richmond's early years, was reduced to burnt framework and ash early Monday morning after a fire sped through it, destroying the 108-year-old historic building.

Now red-tagged, along with neighboring structures, the historic Richmond hotel is slated for demolition, city records show.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation, and there are no reports of injuries; however, families in adjacent homes were displaced.

The building was already fully engulfed when firefighters arrived around 6 a.m. Monday morning.

"Due to the fire involvement, unstable building conditions, and high tension power lines already down across the front of the building challenging crews, they were forced to make an exterior defensive fire attack," a member of Richmond Fire Local 188 wrote in a social media post.

It took firefighters about 45 minutes to extinguish the blaze, but crews remained on site late into the afternoon, looking for hotspots and stabilizing the scene.

Pacific Gas and Electric crews were also present late Monday, working to replace a chard power poll that was damaged by the fire.

Located on 396 South Street in Richmond's Pullman neighborhood, the hotel was said to have been built around 1900 to serve the Black Pullman Porters during their layovers in Richmond in the 1920s.

The property was formerly owned by Richmond activist Ethel Dotson and was located near the Pullman Rail Car Shops, which closed in 1959. South Street was recently renamed Ethel Dotson South Street in an effort by the Pullman Neighborhood Council to pay tribute to Dotson, who died in 2007.

The property is currently owned by Dotson's son, Kariti Eric Hartman.

Rear view of the former International Hotel.
PG&E crews work to replace a burnt pole following this morning's fire at the former International Hotel.

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