Firefighters search the Mayan Hotel for victims as fire investigation continues

EL CENTRO — A team of three personnel and two human-remains detection canines from the Orange County Fire Authority's Urban Search & Rescue team arrived in El Centro to assist in the search for human remains at the Mayan Hotel, Wednesday, February 17. The vacant hotel was heavily damaged on the night of February 13; during the incident, firefighters aggressively pushed against deteriorating fire conditions and attempted an interior search and fire attack but were driven back by the dangerous environment in the structure's interior. 

Wednesday, an organized search of the rubble was accomplished with canines to aid in canvasing the heavily damaged structure. The canine team led the search and helped pinpoint areas of interest that firefighters painstakingly searched by hand and with power tools and other equipment. After a search of places of interest, personnel did not uncover any human remains.

Many teams assisted at the scene including the City of Imperial FD, the Imperial County FD, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the Orange County Fire Authority, American Red Cross, AMR Ambulance, City of El Centro Code Enforcement Division, City of El Centro Public Works, and the City of El Centro Engineering Division. No injuries to personnel were reported.  

As a precaution, a perimeter fence has been installed to prevent unauthorized access into the damaged building. The intersection of Sixth and State will continue to be closed for several days. Downtown traffic should find alternate routes and avoid the area to ease congestion.

The incident remains under investigation, and the cause of the fire has not been determined. Any witnesses or individuals with information related to this fire should call (760) 337-4530.

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