Investigators with the Ventura County Fire Dept. are working to determine the cause of a fast-developing blaze that consumed a hotel under construction in Camarillo, Calif., on April 12. The fire, which was reported shortly after 7 p.m., is believed to have started on the third floor of an uncompleted four-story hotel. Once the blaze began, it quickly gained intensity in the closed wood structure.

Ventura County Fire Dept. spokesman Cpt. Brian McGrath said the fire was abetted by the lack of fire-rated materials in the structure such as drywall, stucco or firewalls. Fire-suppression systems had not been installed. The condition of the structure was also a contributing factor.

“The wood-frame building had been under construction for some time so that wood had been exposed to the outside elements that entire time,” he said.

Mcgrath said the building had passed previous fire inspections. There were no construction crews at work at the time and no injuries were reported.

The 69,356-sq-ft hotel is located on a 14-acre property at the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Las Posas Road in Camarillo. With the site directly adjacent to U.S. 101, the California Highway Patrol closed the roadway when flames threatened nearby powerlines. Southbound lanes remained closed for two hours. 

The 122-room Home2 Suites by Hilton hotel was expected to open later this year. A pair of buildings intended for restaurants were under construction at the time of the fire. Construction was being handled by the developer.

The work was the first phase of a $100-million development being led by Dallas-based developer T. M. Mian & Associates. The company did not respond to ENR's requests for comment.

Plans for the Mian Plaza and Conference Center complex included a 155-room Embassy Suites hotel with 17,500 sq ft of conference facility space, a 122-room Home2 Suites hotel, up to 16,532 sq ft of restaurant space and 9,365 sq ft of retail space.

The property was purchased from the city for $5.4 million in 2018. According to records with the city of Camarillo, work on the project's first phase began in mid-2019, although delays in construction had pushed the project past the initial projected completion date of summer 2021.