POCONO TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The Inn at Pocono Manor near Mount Pocono began to burn Friday morning. It took crews from across the region nearly two days to fight the fire and extinguish hotspots along with the massive pile of debris.
The hotel’s owner stood before community members and promised he'd bring the hotel back to life.
"Rest assured we will build a brand new and spectacular facility here that I'm sure everyone will be proud of," owner Joe Jerome said.
The Inn at Pocono Manor was slated to close to guests at the end of this month. Owners say the hotel was to remain closed for more than two years for renovations.
Those renovations were scheduled to be done in 2022 at the same time as a proposed $350 million shopping and entertainment complex nearby.
Jerome can't say if the new hotel will open in that time frame.
The building, where the fire is believed to have originated, is still partially standing but it remains to be seen if owners will salvage it as part of the new resort.
"If it can be salvaged it's definitely something to take a good look at. It had a tremendous amount of heat, so we really don't know until they get in there and investigate it from an engineering standpoint if that's doable,” general manager Don Snyder said.
Ahead of the closure, management at the inn began placing their 130 employees at other resorts in the Poconos. They even held a job fair just 2 days before the fire.
Paul Paris was a busboy at the inn back in the 70s and came out of retirement to manage the hotel's lounge bar.
Paris says he plans to wait for the return of Pocono Manor before he gets back into the hospitality business
"I would tell people when they came into the lounge - this is the number one most beautiful spot in all of the Poconos, we had a great view of the mountain and a great ambiance,” Paris said.
Other employees say the fire took away a building full of rich history, and the livelihood of some local people
"I guess it was better for some people to collect unemployment cause the positions they were offering were only part-time,” Harry Rodriguez of Mount Pocono said.