Authorities suspect arson in Hitching Post Inn fire

CHEYENNE, WYOMING The blaze that badly damaged Wyoming’s historic Hitching Post Inn and Conference Center was intentionally set, fire officials believe.

Areas of the building were positively identified by detection canines as containing accelerants, according to a Wyoming Eagle-Tribune report. “The presence of these items and through the investigative analysis of the scene and the fire burn patterns, we are very confident that that was an intentionally-set fire,” says fire examiner Douglas Dawson.

Flames 20-ft.-high burned through the roof of the 176-key property last week, leaving much of the hotel and its conference center charred. No injuries were reported.

The 83-year-old hotel had been closed for about a year due to financial troubles, but it was in the midst of a US$500,000 renovation that would have seen it reopen within weeks. For many decades it was the premier hotel in Wyoming’s capital city, serving as the lodging of choice for legislators and U.S. presidents.

Dawson declined to say where the fire started or whether owner CJM Hospitality is cooperating with the investigation.

The 10.82 acre property was appraised at more than US$6 million earlier this year, according to the newspaper.