WASHINGTON, Pa. -- Firefighters were called to a fire at the old George Washington Hotel this week and got a shock when they found a room splattered with blood and empty liquor bottles.
Washington Police Chief J.R. Blyth thought Sunday's discovery was the most grisly murder scene in his 35 years in law enforcement. He committed several investigators to the "crime scene" -- until they realized it had been set up that way for a horror movie.
"I was mad at first because we declared it a crime scene. I had to call my detectives out -- that's eight hours of overtime," said Blythe.
Blyth told Channel 4 Action News' Sheldon Ingram on Friday that he was fuming at first, having used up more than eight hours of overtime for the investigation, but everyone had a good laugh about it in the end.
"I had no idea what was going on -- blood on the floor, the mattress, the pillows, piece of a scalp with hair still attached in the center of the bed," said Blythe.
The room is on the fourth floor of the 10-story hotel on South Main Street. Vulgar words were written on the walls, along with the fake blood.
Two years ago, the room had been used for a scene in a straight-to-DVD flick called "New Terminal Hotel" with Corey Haim.
The room had been left uncleaned after filming ended because the property owner wasn't sure if the movie crew would have to come back and do re-shoots.
With a national reputation for being haunted, the George Washington was a good choice for a creepy movie. Ingram reported that more than a dozen people have died in the hotel since it was built in 1923. Presidents and famous actors have also stayed there.
Four people have died since current owner Kyrk Pyros bought the hotel seven years ago.
"We had a laugh and I said we had 'Terminal Hotel' filmed there and they put blood on the walls and they did a nice job making it look good," said Pyros.
No injuries were reported in Sunday's fire, although five people were treated with oxygen for smoke inhalation. Washington Fire Chief Linn Brookman said the flames started in the laundry room in the basement.