A fire gutted California’s historic Hotel Marysville. Economic crisis and ‘peril’ loom, city says

Marysville officials are poised to declare a local emergency Friday after a fire that decimated the historic Hotel Marysville, hampering the Northern California city’s economy as roads and businesses closed down in the wake of the damage.

A blaze on Saturday gutted the near-century-old landmark on the corner of Fifth Street and Highway 70 that sat vacant for nearly 40 years. Marysville firefighters and crews from neighboring agencies doused flames for hours until the building’s unsafe interior pushed Fire Chief Kyle Heggstrom to call off first responders.

The Marysville City Council is hoping its clarion call for help will resonate with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and that the state will provide financial aid for a city now facing an economic crisis, Dan Flores, the city’s community development director, said in a phone interview.

Businesses in downtown Marysville closed their doors after an engineering firm recommended to evacuate a perimeter of more than 100 feet around the crumbling building that poses an “immediate risk of collapse, which could result in injury or death,” according to the emergency proclamation set to be heard at a 9 a.m. emergency council meeting.

“Conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property have arisen within the City caused by the fire at the Marysville Hotel, impacting significant City and community operations, including critical public infrastructure and services, and which will require the provision of additional public safety and emergency services,” the proclamation reads, in part.

The city of nearly 13,000 people must divert resources to public works, fire and policing, Flores added.

“The costs are accumulating really heavily,” Flores said.

Caltrans closed Highway 70, a major thoroughfare also known locally in downtown Marysville as E Street, in both directions between Third and Sixth streets with no estimated time of reopening, according to a news release. Some small businesses laid off employees, Flores said, and traffic jams are delaying travel times for patients seeking emergency care at a nearby hospital.

The proclamation says there have been traffic delays of up to 40 minutes during peak commute hours, and that a “vast majority” of Marysville’s police resources have been dedicated to traffic control.

The fire, the cause of which remains under investigation, came at a time when Marysville had been gathering momentum — plans were underway to redevelop the aging, five-story site into a housing complex, Flores said.

“This is definitely a strain on a small town in terms of resources overall,” Flores said.