A Hampton Inn hotel in the Route 66 town of Tucumcari, New Mexico, was destroyed after fire swept through its roof and top floors Wednesday, reported the Quay County Sun and other news outlets.
Nearly 30 overnight guests were evacuated with no injuries, reported the newspaper, and were moved to nearby hotels. It’s believed a lightning strike on the roof of the hotel’s southwest corner caused the blaze.
Meanwhile, volunteers helped the hotel’s guests find clothes, shoes and phones to contact family members.
Owner Nitin Bhakta, who said the hotel was a total loss, said the hotel’s fire-alarm system failed, even though it had been tested recently. It’s likely, however, the lightning strike fried the system’s electronics.
We’ve long advocated for Route 66 tourists to stay in mom-and-pop motels. However, Hampton Inns about a decade ago helped with a few restoration projects on Route 66 and sponsored a Route 66 Caravan in 2002. So, if you want a chain hotel on the Mother Road, that’s one that merits a look.
As for Tucumcari, I suspect what’s Hampton Inn’s loss is several independent motel owners’ gain. The Blue Swallow Motel, Motel Safari and Historic Route 66 Motel all get high marks from travelers and will do nicely for Hampton Inn guests who had booked reservations. And the Roadrunner Lodge will open any day now.