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HOTEL FIRE NEW JOURNAL-50
 

Seguin 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 an alarm.

Potentially threatening fire destroys top floor sauna of Helsinki hotel

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 roof structures.

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 catastrophe.
"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 before yesterday.

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 the hotel.
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 Bay.

Overheated sauna wall panels thought to be cause of yesterday’s hotel fire

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 as well.
"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", Ahola commented.



"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 afternoon.
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, Stenberg emphasised.

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 confirmed.

 


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