An Okanogan hotel has been forced to shut down after sustaining damage during a Tuesday morning fire.

Firefighters were dispatched to the Quality Inn & Suites in the single-digit block of Apple Way Road at around 9:30 a.m. where they discovered smoke and flames rising from the top floor and roof of the building.

Maurice Goodall with Okanogan County Emergency Management (OCEM) says the blaze actually sparked outside the hotel.

"The fire started on the outside of the hotel's northwest corner in a small shed. Some of the residents at the hotel tried to put it out with small fire extinguishers but by the time they got into the shed it was already pretty well going. It creeped up the side of the hotel and got into the attic space and under the eaves of the hotel."

Crews had the fire under control within an hour and everyone inside the hotel managed to get out safely.

Goodall says many of those staying at the hotel were long-term tenants.

"There's actually quite a few people there who are staying long-term. Some are staying anywhere from a week to two weeks to even a month, and even some that live there longer term. A few people in the hotel were just overnight guests from out of town who were staying one or two days but most of them are kind of in a long-term situation with the hotel."

Six rooms inside the hotel were heavily damaged by smoke and fire, while several more were impacted by water.

Goodall says the hotel does have water service but is currently without electricity and is unsuitable to be occupied.

OCEM is assisting with arranging shelter for those who have been displaced by the fire.

A short in a space heater inside the shed where the fire began is believed to have caused the blaze, but Goodall says investigators are still working the scene.

No injuries were reported.

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