- Associated Press - Thursday, July 24, 2014

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) - A fire at a South Lake Tahoe hotel forced two people to jump to safety from a second-story balcony and caused $2 million in damage, officials said Thursday.

It was the third fire in recent weeks that damaged hotels in the area. The cause was under investigation.

The latest fire broke out late Wednesday at the Deerfield Lodge west of the casino district, South Lake Tahoe Fire Chief Jeff Meston told Lake Tahoe News.

The two people who leapt to safety were taken to Barton Memorial Hospital. Their condition was unknown.

All six rooms in the hotel’s back building were destroyed along with six vehicles, Meston said.

Firefighters had the blaze under control in about three hours, he said, adding that crews kept the flames from spreading to the front of the hotel. He estimated damage between $2 million and $2.5 million.

Thirty-five hotel guests were transported to the Lakeside Inn for the night.

Jerry Birdwell, owner of the neighboring Black Bear Inn, said a guest awakened him with news about the fire.

“I looked and my god it was blazing,” Birdwell said. “They protected our property. The manner in which the firefighters worked, the police worked … it was absolutely professional.”

A fire at Mountain Mike’s T-shirt shop caused some damage to the neighboring Highland Inn on July 20, and a small fire started in a dryer at the Lake Shore Lodge earlier this month.

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