Some information is known about the inn's regular operation. At some point before September, it changed hands to a new owner, who installed strange paintings of landscapes as part of an esoteric puzzle. However, as the residents were unaware of this; the residents simply kept flipping the switches to other people's rooms, assuming that it was a broken switch to some light in their own room. One guest became so irritated by this inconvenience that he made plans to leave the hotel on September 24th and find another. Aspiring novelist, Dario Rosso, was checked-in at the inn in September.
The new owner also put pressure on the staff; the janitor, who had previously only checked the security alarm twice a year, was to test it routinely once a week. Todd, the inn's security guard, was assigned to a routine patrol of the inn's roof on either September 19 or 26 (only referred to as Saturday), and became agitated by the new owner's requests for him to install new security systems around the hotel, which the janitor found to be unnecessary given that a number-lock mechanism already sealed an entire section of the hotel on the inside; he then lost the card he was supposed to use. On September 23, the janitor noticed that the boiler was beginning to make strange sounds. Not wanting to work until Sunday the 27th fixing it, he decided that he should wait until the following Monday before informing the owner, expecting to be able to fix the problem before the weekend.
On September 24, the recent failure of the G-Virus Seizure Operation made itself known when the t-Virus reached cataclysmic levels in what is known as the Raccoon City Destruction Incident. Soon into the outbreak, the hotel became a refuge for survivors and its remaining guests- partly owing to its new security system. Unfortunately, the t-Virus had already infected people inside the hotel, turning the security system into a death trap for refugees who did not have security passes with them. Making things much worse, the boiler that the janitor neglected to repair became a serious fire hazard, either with other rooms set fire to due to the piping or simply the threat of widespread fire being present. Whichever it was, the Raccoon Fire Department was on full-alert at the start of the outbreak, and a team was sent to prevent the boiler from reaching critical pressure levels. Unfortunately, Len and Charlie reached the boiler too late, and were killed when it exploded.
A group of survivors who had sought refuge in the hotel just as its boiler exploded, found themselves to be the only people left thanks to the actions of the lickers that had made the building their home. Eventually finding a way out of the hotel by working out the hotel owner's ingenious security mechanisms, the team defeated a partially-converted Licker by weakening it with the security alarms before being rescued by Danny, another firefighter.
In Outbreak, the front door is shown to be smashed, suggesting that this takes place after Hellfire. However, this makes it hard to explain the sudden disappearance and reappearance of other firefighters before and after the J's Bar survivors' passing through the area, as well as how the fire started in the first place. Were the door to be disregarded as an oversight, Hellfire would fit in just after the J's Bar survivors left the area, ending at the same time as Outbreak, when the Raccoon Police Department takes control of the area.