Edgartown firefighters responded to a fire at the Harbor View Hotel late Wednesday evening and found a stubborn, smoky blaze in a building behind the main hotel structure. Oak Bluffs and West Tisbury firefighters also responded. The fire started in the part of the hotel know as the Mayhew building, Edgartown fire chief Alex Schaeffer said.

The hotel is closed for the winter for major renovations under new ownership.

Hotel is closed for winter renovations under new ownership. — Mark Alan Lovewell

An automated fire alarm call came in just after 11 p.m. Wednesday, indicating the building’s sprinkler system was activated. But sprinklers could not reach the flames as they spread inside the walls of the first, second, and third floors of the building.

“It was more of a smoldering effect,” Chief Schaeffer said. “It was contained within the walls where most of the sprinkler system is ineffective. It required an extensive amount of overhaul, where we had to pull down ceilings and walls to find the point of origin. He said six rooms were extensively damaged by fire, with smoke damage extending to common hallways.

Chief Schaeffer said his department recently staged a drill at the building, which helped firefighters position the first equipment that arrived on the scene.

Frigid weather was a factor, with temperatures around 10 degrees and falling at the time the fire began.

“It makes a difficult situation even more difficult,” Chief Schaeffer said. “We’re struggling with frozen lines, frozen valves, nozzles freezing up. Every bit of water that we put on the ground becomes a slip hazard. Everything is working against us.”

No one was injured, the chief said.

“That’s a win any day,” he said, “but with the adversity we were up against last night it was remarkable we were able to pull that off.”

The Massachusetts state fire marshal was called in to investigate the cause of the fire. Investigators were at work Thursday morning. Icicles hung off the room balconies and signs were posted by the fire marshal barring entry to the building.

“It’s still under investigation, but we can say they’re is no cause for belief of any kind of criminal activity,” Chief Schaeffer said.

Hotel management issued a statement Thursday.

“The building is closed for renovation so no guests were impacted nor were any injuries sustained,” said general manager Chris Bird in the statement. “Damage is limited to a few rooms in the empty building. Vineyard first responders and firefighters arrived swiftly and extinguished the smoke, working in bitter cold conditions. We are grateful for their capable work and dedication.”