Overnight Fire Destroys Blytheville Restaurants, Damages Hotel

BLYTHEVILLE, AR - An overnight fire has destroyed the Perkins Bakery & Restaurant, as well as the Bistro 1121 restaurant & club inside the Holiday Inn hotel in Blytheville.

Firefighters and emergency officials were called to the scene at 1:20 a.m. by employees of one of the restaurants after workers reported smelling smoke in the building.

Soon after police and firefighters arrived at the scene, the hotel, which was reported to be at full capacity, was evacuated.

Firefighters remained on the scene until late morning, battling flare-ups and "hot spots."  This morning's extremely cold temperatures also hindered firefighters' efforts, as water used to extinguish the blaze often froze.

Sources say the hotel portion of the facility sustained some minor to moderate damage, but most of the heavy damage appears to be confined to the restaurants.  The hotel's conference and meeting rooms were also lost.  The facility's front lobby, front row of rooms and rooms on the east side of the all sustained smoke and water damage.

No one was injured, and Fire Captain Rex Wilhite says no cause has been determined, but that it appears the blaze started in the furnace area around the attic.

The Holiday Inn is located on East Main Street in Blytheville, near Interstate-55.  The two-story structure has 155 rooms and was renovated in 2006.  Owner Don Houseworth says the facility will re-open within a few days and that he wants the restaurants open again within six weeks.

East Main Street was closed until 7:30 a.m., and a road crew had to spread sand on parts of the street where runoff water froze.

Region 8 News has a crew at the scene and will have more on this developing story throughout the day.

(Region 8 News reporter Will Carter contributed to this report.)