FIRE NEW JOURNAL-50
Hotel Heavily Damaged By Fire
No Injuries Reported
April 16, 2007
SEGUIN, Texas -- A two-alarm fire heavily damaged
a Best Western Inn in Seguin early Monday.
Twenty-five rooms were gutted by the blaze, which
broke out about 2:30 a.m., fire officials said.
No injuries were reported, but about 14 guests had
to make a hasty escape.
"I heard someone yelling, 'Fire!' but I thought
it was a drunk," a female guest said.
"I opened up the door and saw fire dropping
off the balcony," a man said.
It took 45 firefighters from Seguin and neighboring
communities three hours to bring the fire under control.
Some hot spots were put out later in the morning.
Fire officials said it appears that the fire started
near a utility room in a far corner of the hotel.
The cause was under investigation.
The hotel didn't have any fire walls or sprinkler
systems, which weren't required by a city ordinance
when it was built, fire officials said.
There were smoke alarms in the rooms, although at
least one guest told KSAT 12 News that she never heard
threatening fire destroys top floor sauna of Helsinki
April 22, 2007
Guests evacuated from upper floors of 500-room hotel
A fire broke out at the Scandic Continental Hotel
in central Helsinki early on Tuesday morning. According
to the Rescue Department, the potentially threatening
fire was put out just before 7 a.m. "The blaze
was swiftly contained by the firemen", explained
fire chief Markku Ahola.
According to the Helsinki Rescue Department, the fire
broke out in the top floor sauna facilities. Among
the rescue workers there were suspicions that the
blaze might have been initiated by an electric sauna
stove that had been left on unsupervised. To some
extent the fire also spread into the hotel’s
|The hotel staff quickly evacuated
a few dozen guests from the ninth floor rooms,
but the guests have since been allowed to return
to the building. In property manager Antti Peurala’s
view, the evacuation went off smoothly.
Swedish tourist Charlotte Berkvuist reported how
she was woken up by the smell of smoke. She then
alerted her two friends, and the three quickly
exited the hotel.
Berkvuist and her travel companions had arrived
in Helsinki yesterday, and the night was the trio’s
first in the Finnish capital.The Fire Department
was alerted of the fire at 6:28 this morning.
The hotel officer on night duty became aware of
the fire before the fire detectors, when he encountered
smoke during his round.No injuries to persons
due to the fire have been reported.
The hotel building, in turn, sustained extensive
fire damage, and at least the two top floors suffered
from smoke damage. The fire doors remained shut
during the incident.
According to hotel director Christer Kjäl, the
hotel’s sauna department was destroyed, while
at least 30 of the ninth-floor rooms sustained smoke
damage. Furthermore, six of the top floor conference
room’s windows were smashed.
When interviewed earlier this morning, Kjäl was
unable to estimate the cost of damage. Instead, he
commended his staff for their rapid actions, which
prevented the incident from escalating into a potential
"I guess one could say that we were lucky, considering
the size of the hotel", said Kjäl, who started
as the director of the establishment only the day
||In the aftermath of the incident,
water was cut off from 12 of the guest rooms.
The guests of these rooms have been relocated
elsewhere in the hotel.
Possible crisis support has also been made available.
The fire impeded this morning’s commuter
traffic in Central Helsinki, where some traffic
restrictions were introduced in the vicinity of
Tram traffic was resumed shortly after 7 a.m,
and both lanes of the Mannerheimintie main artery
were reopened to traffic just before 8 o’clock.
The Scandic Continental, with 514 rooms and 9
suites, is an imposing building on Mannerheimintie,
almost opposite Finlandia Hall. It was formerly
known as the Inter-Continental and is one of the
capital's largest hotels.
The top-floor sauna in the main building (there
are also two separate wings that have been added
later) also features a pool area, with extensive
views eastwards over Töölönlahti
wall panels thought to be cause of yesterday’s
Overheated sauna wall panels are thought to have
caused yesterday’s potentially disastrous hotel
fire in central Helsinki.
The top floor fire at the Scandic Continental Hotel
in the Taka-Töölö district of the Finnish
capital was first observed by a passer-by, who informed
the emergency services at 6:15 a.m. of smoke coming
from the building’s roof structures.
At the time of the incident, there were 500 guests
in the hotel. Around 60 of them had to be evacuated
from the top two floors. None of the guests were in
grave danger at any stage.
The Fire Department put out the blaze within an hour.
"At first we thought it was a roof fire",
explained fire chief in charge Markku Ahola.
In the sauna department, however, the firefighters
soon encountered a sauna that was all ablaze. Every
window in the sauna department had been smashed by
the fire, which had spread into some of the roof structures
"We were lucky that no-one was hit when the burnt
window frames fell down on the street. One fireman
sustained minor injuries when fighting the blaze",
"The police examined the premises first thing
in the morning and quickly ruled out the possibilities
of a technical fault or sabotage", explained
crime superintendent Markku Stenberg from the Violent
Crime Unit of the Helsinki Police Department on Tuesday
According to Stenberg the electric sauna in question
was heated every day from early morning until late
at night. On Tuesday morning it had been switched
on at 5:30.
"When the sauna is heated every day by using
a relatively powerful electric sauna stove, the adjacent
wall panels gather heat and, with bad luck, there
is a remote chance that the wooden panels may eventually
reach their flashpoint", Stenberg speculated.
The sauna stove itself was correctly installed, and
the hotel had not overlooked any safety regulations,
The aftermath of the fire, with cleaning and sauna
rebuilding work included, will not affect the operation
of the hotel.
"Only a couple of rooms will be out of action
for a while", hotel director Kristel Skjäl