Hotel Ritual on the road to recovery after catching fire
JACKSONVILLE, Texas (KLTV) - Hotel Ritual in Jacksonville is in the process of rebuilding after catching fire in June of 2022.
Fire officials say the fire started in the basement due to an electrical issue. Five people were injured during the incident.
Whitney Graham is the owner of the hotel and said this was the first time a fire had occurred on the 90-year-old property.
“I know people, everybody, goes through different things, and this is part of my journey, and I was just so thankful that everybody was out,” Graham said. “That was my first thought, and I’ve just been thankful for our lives ever since.”
There were damages to the whole interior and top portion of the building, except for the masonry, so the road to recovery didn’t have to start from scratch.
“That’s one of the amazing things. They were saying it was really amazing wood and amazing craftsmanship, and so that’s a testament to why it’s still standing,” said Graham.
The rebuilding process is divided up into five stages. The first phase was surgical demolition of the fire damage. They removed the third floor, and they are now on to phase two.
“We removed the second half of the second floor, and then we removed all of the contents and all of the interior walls that were not historical, iconic pieces. And, then we were able to go back, now with the new wood, and rebuild the second floor and put a roof on it,” Graham explained.
She said the fire did not affect the carriage house, which is located at the backside of the property. They plan to reopen that amenity in the next two to four weeks, but for now, the main mansion is still under construction.
“It’s been the most challenging time in our lives, for sure,” Graham said. “I just try to have the utmost faith and not look very much further ahead, have the big picture at heart, and I feel very honored to be able to watch this process myself.”
Graham added that the community has come together in support of the business ever since the day of the fire. The hotel also has a restaurant in the downtown area where they receive frequent customers.
Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year, but Graham said they might be able to finish sooner, as early as the end of the summer, since construction is going at a record pace.
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