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150 evacuated after Darlinghurst hotel fire

September 27, 2006
About 150 people had a restless night's sleep after their building was evacuated during a fire in Darlinghurst last night.

Police and fire brigades were called to a motel on Crown Street just before 11pm after reports of a fire in an underground car park.

The fire is believed to have started in a storage area before spreading to a nearby car.

The eight-storey building was full of smoke.

The blaze was extinguished, but people staying in the motel and adjoining buildings were evacuated as a precaution.

The building was not structurally damaged and the residents returned to their rooms after several hours.

The cause of the fire is being investigated

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.Vegas fire led to safety upgrades

09:11 AM CDT on Saturday, September 30, 2006

Starting today and going through the month of October, I will be writing about Fire Prevention Week, which is Oct. 8-14, and covering historical events in the fire service that have brought about change in the fire prevention industry.

This past week I was lucky enough to be invited to attend an Emergency Medical Service Expo in Las Vegas. While I was there, it dawned on me how much influence an event from more than 25 years ago has had on the fire service and our lives today.

Quick history lesson: On Nov. 21, 1980, just after 7 in the morning, a small fire started in a deli at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.

Read the Clark County Fire Department's report into the 1980 MGM Grand Hotel fire
It spread quickly. Before the fire could be extinguished, 85 lives would be lost and 679 more people would be injured. This was the second-largest loss of life in a hotel fire in history. About 300 firefighters from area departments responded to the scene.

Several factors played into the large number of deaths and injuries. One of the main factors was that the hotel was only partially protected by sprinkler systems. Areas with sprinklers had little to no damage from the fire. Another problem was that smoke was able to travel freely throughout the hotel with little to stop it. Most of the deaths were from smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning from people on the hotel's upper floors.

What good came from this event? Life safety and building codes now require sprinkler systems and air handling units to be installed throughout hotels. Elevators now lock and return to the lobby during emergencies to avoid trapping people.

If you are staying in a newer hotel, you probably don't notice the sprinklers down every hallway, in every room, even in the closet of your hotel room – but they are there. They are in breezeways, carports, auxiliary areas of hotels, casinos and other gathering points, silently standing ready to respond to the next fire.

Next time you take a trip, look around and see what kind of fire safety systems you can find, from fire extinguishers and fire exits to fire sprinklers and smoke detectors.


Several Injured After Allentown Hotel Fire

Dozens were evacuated following a fire at an Allentown residence hotel early Monday morning.

Officials said flames broke out at the Hotel Grand on 10th Street around 12:45 a.m.

Firefighters were able to bring the fire under control in less than an hour.

“The building suffered heavy fire damage on the second floor, heavy smoke damage to the third floor and heavy water damage to the first floor as a result of extinguishing the fire,” said Captain Robert Scheirer of the Allentown Fire Department.

The fire is believed to have started on the second floor of the building.

Officials said 27 people staying in the hotel were evacuated, ten of which were transported to area hospitals for minor injuries.

Authorities said a pregnant woman and a man were held for observation after they jumped from hotel windows to escape the blaze. Their injuries are not life-threatening.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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