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Fire Drill Flame Out - Recap

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Anthony goes to Douglas, a small town in southeast Arizona. The 106-year-old 130-room Gadsden Hotel needs his help despite the fact that it's a national historic site and has played a role in several Western movies. The current owner's health is failing so conservator Robert Fleming has been put in charge of the estate. Robert has no hotel experience so he's called in Anthony to work with the owner's daughter-in-law, Robin Brekhus.

When Anthony arrives, he's impressed with the size of the hotel and its obvious antiquity. He points out that the sign declaring it a national historic site is too small. The non-smoking sign is peeling and the brass on the door isn't polished. Inside, Anthony takes in the spacious lobby with stained glass windows and marble columns. Cases hold photos of famous people, but there are no placards identifying why the photos are there and whether the actors have stayed there. There are photos of a fire that gutted the Gadsden in 1928, and Anthony points out that showing guests photos of a burning hotel isn't a good idea. He also finds an antique water fountain that works, but it's covered in mold and bacteria.



The front desk agent, Devon, greets Anthony. He shows her the mold from the water fountain and she hands him a tissue. Devon admits that she has no idea when it was last cleaned. Anthony notes that she's wearing her own clothing and confirms that the owners don't give her a uniform. He points out that the key rack has a tip jar and a prescription bottle next to it, and asks Devon about the front desk operation. Anthony comes around and discovers that they're using the same phone system that was there when the hotel opened. He figures that they should put out the antique switchboard to promote the hotel's historic value. Devon admits that they don't have a computer system and they keep track of reservations in a guest book, and Anthony figures the hotel shouldn't be relying on an archaic reservation system.

Anthony gets a key to 101, a king bed that goes for $70 a night and has been renovated within the last decade. The door is an elaborate wood piece, but the room inside has stains on the carpets and cracks in the walls. There are no elements of history in the room and everything looks cheap. Anthony returns to the lobby and sees a businessman using his laptop. He goes over to talk to the man, Jerry, and asks why he's there. The businessman took the room because the brand-name hotels in town were booked up. Jerry admits that he hasn't made up his mind about whether he'd come back, and Anthony asks to talk to him again before he checks out.



Next, Anthony goes to meet with Robin but she doesn't show up. According to Anthony's producer, Robin doesn't want to meet with him because she heard that he yelled at Devon. They finally persuade Robin to meet with Anthony, and he explains that he didn't yell at her. Robin explains that she's been there for 25 years and didn't have any experience before that. Anthony wonders why they hired her instead of a professional manager, and Robin says that the owner wanted someone he could trust. Robin admits that they're losing over $200,000 a year for the last seven years, putting them $1.4 million in the hole. Anthony tells Robin that as the general manager, her job is to stop the losses. He describes the reservation system and Robin admits that it's the same as it was 25 years ago. Anthony wonders what she's done to improve the hotel in 25 years, and Robin admits that she hasn't done anything but give tours of the hotel. He asks if there's anybody else in the hotel who knows how to run it and Robin admits that there isn't, and then breaks into tears.

Designer Carrie Drognes arrives to help and admires the lobby. Anthony hops over the desk and points out that the back-room time cards and papers are visible from the front, and there are cheap clocks and notes all over the place. They check out the room and Carrie winces in pain at the design. Anthony figures that they can bring it to the same design as the lobby and Carrie agrees.



The next day, Carrie brings in a crew from GAR Construction to get rid of everything in the room so she can start from scratch. Meanwhile, Anthony checks out the elevator and discovers that it has an elevator operator. A sign says that the operator will be there but no one shows up. Anthony goes to the bar and talks to Brenda, the bartender. She explains that she's the operator and takes him up, calling him "sweetie." Brenda shows him how the elevator works and he discovers that there's no door on the inside. She takes him to the 4th floor and tells him to push a button to summon her when he's ready to go back down.

Anthony wanders around and finds an outdated fire extinguisher. Per the fire code, fire extinguishers must be serviced once a year. Anthony starts looking for other fire hazards and discovers that the emergency lights don't work. More fire extinguishers are out of date and Anthony points out that it's the GM's responsibility that the hotel has taken proper precautions. He shows Robin what she's found and points out that she would go to jail if there was a fire. They check a firebox and Robin admits that it doesn't work, and has never worked since she started there 25 years ago. Anthony has Robin pull it and it doesn't work, and he checks more fire alarms. None of them work and Robin has no explanation.



They check more fire alarms and confirm that none of them work. Anthony says that the hotel is a hotelier's worst nightmare, and a guest's as well. He has Robin confirm that there's no fire-safety plan and then tells her that he doesn't want his crew in the hotel because of the lack of fire safety. Furious, Anthony walks away, while Robin tells the producers that she's concerned for her guests' safety, and just didn't know about the problem.

Anthony prepares to call in a fire inspector, and Robin approaches him and asks what she can do. He tells her to call in a fire inspector and she goes off to do it, while Anthony stares in astonishment. He appreciates that she came to him while he was still angry, but refuses to accept her incompetence. Robin sets up an appointment with a fire inspector for the next morning and Anthony goes to see her in her office. He tells her to have somebody on each floor to guarantee the guest's safety or remove everyone form the building, and she agrees to set up a plan.

Next, Anthony tries to find ways to save money. He talks to the hotel bookkeeper, David, and he explains that he's never worked on a budget with Robin. Anthony digs into the records and learns that the restaurant is losing $62,000 a year. He talks with Chef Leddy, who has been there for 28 years. She doesn't have any idea how much she charges for food compared to other restaurants. Anthony checks the menu and points out that she has 100 items on it. He jokingly points out that there are as many people in the town as menu items, and figures that most of the supplies are getting wasted. Anthony tells Chef Leddy to pick out the bestsellers and they'll narrow down the menu.



Jerry is checking out when Anthony catches up to him. He says that he wouldn't come back because of the lack of amenities and no Internet in the rooms. Anthony then checks in with Carrie and is unhappy to learn that she painted the room in soft green. She assures her that it will work and Anthony admits that the soft green looks good. Carrie promises him that Robin can get the other rooms the same way with a minimal cost. Anthony asks her to put some information about the hotel history in the room and Carrie says she'll do what she can.

Anthony works Robin through the alarm system, which dates back to 1978. He shows her how to test and reset the system, and discovers that it's turned off. He turns it on and an alarm goes off in the distance. They check it out and confirm that the system does work. Anthony storms back to Robin's office and tells her that the situation is absolutely crazy. Robin hides in the women's restroom while Anthony rants and rages.



Later, Anthony goes back to see Robin and tells her that the most serious offense for a general manager is to take the risk that someone could die in her hotel. She apologizes and Anthony commiserates, but says that he also feels sympathy for the guests who could possibly die under her watch.

The next morning, the Wildcat Fire Protection team arrives. Anthony tells them that he needs an operating system as soon as possible and they assure him that they can do it that day. The hotelier then has the owner's guardian Robert come in and says that he'll give him a detailed plan that night to keep the Gadsden open. Anthony then checks in with Carrie, who is working on the front desk. She is going to take the key box out and replace it with a fabric panel. Anthony thinks that it's a mistake and Carrie agrees to reconsider her plan before proceeding.

On the last day, Anthony gives Robert his plan. He suggests that they reduce the hotel down to 30 rooms, saving labor and electricity up to $110,000 a year. Anthony also plans to get the hotel online, tripling their occupancy and bringing in another $151,000. They turn to the general manager and Robert admits that he has a challenge. Anthony warns him that firing Robin could cost the hotel its face with the community. Instead he wants to bring in a property management company. Anthony goes to break the news to Robin and tells her that it's best for the hotel if she steps down as GM. However, he praises her for standing up to him instead of walking away. Anthony wants her to take over as hotel historian. Robin will be in charge of promoting tourist events and giving historic tours. Robin, happy, hugs Anthony.



Next, Anthony brings in Theo Barela from Peak Hospitality, who has experience marketing historic properties. Meanwhile, Carrie and her team clean up the front lobby and embellish the entry. When they're done, Anthony shows Robin and Robert the renovated new guest room. Carrie has mounted and hung old room keys and the original blueprints, and put in a directory providing a history of the hotel. She has also made the room airier and more open. Anthony brings in Carrie and her crew, Robin and Robert thank her. Carrie then takes them to the lobby where she's put in a mirror and flowers. She kept the key box and moved out the phone system so everyone could see it. When Anthony has Robin ring the bell, Brenda comes out wearing a uniform.

Finally, Anthony shows them the new computer system from Pegasus Solutions. They've provided a website with a booking and property management system, and will train the team on how to use it. Anthony then shows them the new fire safety manual and tells them that it's up to them to carry on the work.



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