Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Famed Haunted Hotel On Fire

The Brookdale Inn, the famed haunted hotel and restaurant, is ablaze with flames shooting high into the sky. Firefighters in the area say a heavy column of smoke can be seen coming from Brookdale. Cal Fire has a full wildland response in the area because of the Lockheed Fire though there are no aircraft available for that incident. Aircraft are on order but have not arrived. Sherri Hutchinson, a Brookdale resident, said there are big plumes of black smoke rising from the building and the flames are as high as the trees around the inn. "The whole backside of the building is engulfed in flames," Sherri Hutchinson said. The lodge was bought in 2007 for $5.3 million by Sanjiv Kakkar and has 46 guest suites. Kakkar has a lot of renovations on the property and has run afoul of the county for mounting garbage and construction debris, as well as his failure to secure the proper permits for reconstruction in the past.A 2008 MediaNews investigation also uncovered a similar history concerning a hotel Kakkar owns in San Francisco. The San Francisco environmental health agency has recorded at least a dozen uncollected garbage violations stemming from unpaid disposal bills at the Abigail Hotel since Kakkar bought the Tenderloin District property seven years ago. The building inspector has forwarded to code enforcement officials a March 2007 permit violation that has not been resolved. Kakkar said in 2008 he did not believe the ongoing problems with the Abigail should reflect on the work he is undertaking at the Brookdale, which he renamed the Brookdale Inn & Spa after buying it in October from a retired Bay Area police officer who had owned it for 17 years. The original lodge was built in 1890. The dining room with the brook running through it was added in the early 1920s. A feature in "Ripley's Believe It or Not" brought the lodge worldwide fame, and it's played host to a number of notable guests, including Marilyn Monroe and President Herbert Hoover. The 1940s and '50s ushered in a period of gangsters and other shady characters at the lodge, according to Halloween and harvest season event Web site Haunted Bay. Secret passageways and hidden rooms were installed throughout the lodge, and rumors of buried bodies under the floor began to circulate. Also during that time, Sarah Logan, 6, the niece of the lodge owner, drowned in the dining room creek. Her ghost is the one reportedly seen at the Brookdale.