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Hard Rock Hotel hosts first responders battling Caldor Fire

Posted at 11:41 AM, Sep 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-05 14:41:49-04

STATELINE, Nev. (KERO) — A popular hotel chain is stepping up to help firefighters battling the Caldor Fire. It is a sea of red fire trucks taking over the glamour of the Hard Rock Hotel in Stateline but crews from Reno, San Diego and even Colorado aren't here to gamble.

Beyond these walls, first responders are doing more than just resting. The hotel has been transformed into their home and work office.

“We were told that the firefighters were going to be using the Hard Rock as a command center,” said Eric Barbaro.

Call it a fire station or a command center, this is a place providing meals.

Every night they are also showing a movie, it's an effort to make these crews feel at home after working 24 hour shifts and breathing in unhealthy smoke.

Battalion Chief Bill Erlach with Reno Fire says there are about 20 firefighters from his department.

“As the fire has gotten into more remote areas, we ended up basically sleeping out in the dirt. As you can imagine, you don't get good sleep. You're constantly in the smoke, which is less than beneficial for your sleeping habits...so it is awesome to get into hotel rooms,” said Erlach.

The firefighters feel grateful to know there are people not taking firefighting efforts for granted.

“We're not in the revenue generating mode right now. We're in a support mode. Our team members that are staying here are actually helping keep the operation going so our fireighters have a place to come back to,” said Barbaro.

It's not just a place for crews to come back to, staff say 40% of the guests are families of their own that were forced to evacuate as well.

“We're doing what we can as a community to try and help out,” Barbaro said.

The Caldor Fire has burned just over 210,000 acres and is 43% contained.