Scores of people were displaced early Tuesday when fire destroyed a landmark building on Main Street in downtown Hazard.
The fire burned through the old Grand Hotel building, which had the Peking Chinese Restaurant on the ground floor and apartments on upper floors, said Joe Engle, deputy police chief in Hazard.
Local officials said about 50 people lived in the building. Most residents were low-income, Engle said, and had to leave quickly with nothing more than the clothes they were wearing.
"They didn't have much and what they did have they lost," Engle said.
Engle said six people went to the Appalachian Regional Hospital in Hazard as a result of the blaze, primarily because of smoke inhalation, but police were not aware of any serious injuries.
Two firefighters also were slightly injured, said Derrick Hall, deputy fire chief in Hazard.
The cause of the fire had not been determined Tuesday. Authorities from the state Fire Marshal's Office, Kentucky State Police and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were investigating, Hall said.
Engle said the hotel building was a total loss. The people who lived there will have to find other housing.
The First Presbyterian Church in town had set up a shelter for people displaced by the fire.
Hazard Mayor Jimmy Ray Lindon said 52 people were at the church Tuesday evening. The Red Cross was helping and local businesses had donated food and supplies, Lindon said.
The fire broke through a wall into an adjoining building that is home to several offices and businesses, including the office for court-appointed defense attorneys who work in several counties.
That building sustained fire and water damage but was not destroyed, Hall said. Work was underway Tuesday to get it reopened, he said.
The fire also damaged another, separate apartment building and forced out residents. Officials were evaluating that structure to see whether it was safe for residents to return, and also figuring out what to do with the old hotel building, Hall said.
Engle said the fire was reported about 5 a.m. Firefighters and police officers helped get some people out.
Firefighters had the blaze under control by mid-morning, but planned to watch for flare-ups through the night, Hall said.
Hall said the Grand Hotel was built in 1921, long before modern fire codes. Fire officials in town had worried about the potential for a deadly fire to sweep the building, Hall said.
"We are really fortunate that we did not have a loss of life," he said.
Many people in town lamented the loss of a building that had been part of downtown Hazard for nearly a century.
"I hate that the building is gone," Hall said. "It had a lot of history."
Lindon said there is only a shell of the five-story building left. It will likely have to be torn down so that the walls don't collapse and hurt someone or damage nearby buildings, Lindon said.
The fire was the latest of several to hit the downtown area during the last 15 years.
A fire in March 2004 destroyed two Main Street buildings that housed apartments and businesses.
That followed a fire in February 2002 that destroyed a decades-old building, which housed a church, a paint store and apartments at the time, and another blaze from October 2001 that destroyed a small restaurant and a jewelry store.