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Dud hand grenade forces hotel evacuation in Marlborough

Marlborough - The discovery of an inert hand grenade in a guest room at Homestead Studio Suites forced the hotel's evacuation this afternoon and prompted a bomb squad investigation that turned up nothing else suspicious, officials said.

Marlborough police and fire departments responded to a 911 call at 1:15 p.m.
after a maid discovered the device in a dresser drawer at the Northborough Road hotel and brought the grenade down to the front desk, according to Deputy Fire Chief Ron Ayotte. While the explosive materials had been removed from the grenade, Ayotte said officials took the right cautionary steps of evacuating the building and calling in the state Fire Marshal office's Hazardous Devices unit, who conducted a sweep of the evacuated building.

"The way things are today, better safe than sorry,'' he said. "A man has to know his limitations. When it comes to hazardous devices, they (the bomb
squad) are the experts.''

The State Police and Marlborough paramedics were also on scene until the building was cleared for re-entry at 2:45 p.m., standing by with the hotel's staff and guests who had been temporarily displaced.

Ayotte said the fire department pulled the building's fire alarm when they responded to the hotel, but had trouble evacuating guests. Many opened their room doors, did not detect smoke and therefore stayed in their rooms, he said, forcing firefighters to go through the building knocking on doors.

"People tend to ignore fire alarms and they shouldn't,'' Ayottee said, looking on as a State Police bomb squad trooper walked out of the hotel.
"It's like the boy who cried wolf.''

Maynard Tipton, a southerner who is staying at the hotel while here on business, sat smoking a pipe inside his red Chevrolet Colorado truck in the parking lot, waiting for the OK to re-enter the hotel. He was one of the guests who did not immediately evacuate, he said.

"Now I know why the officer got a little straight-talking when I didn't leave my room,'' he said in a Southern drawl.

After hearing the suspicious device was a grenade, Tipton said, "That's bad. You never know when it's going to be the real thing. It kind of makes you nervous about staying at motels when there's many other people.''

A resident of Erwin, Tenn., Tipton said the scare was concerning given its time-wise proximity to the Virginia Tech shootings and other incidents of violence.

"That's closer to my home,'' he said of the Virginia Tech incident. "You never know when something like that is going to happen wherever you go.''

Building catches fire on Dubai's manmade palm island

: 07 May 2007
A fire broke out yesterday in a building under construction on Dubai's iconic Palm Jumeirah resort island, injuring at least three people and sending clouds of smoke towering over the city's beachfront neighborhoods.

The fire started in the basement of an unfinished eight-story building amid a cluster of apartment towers on the trunk of the manmade Gulf island that is shaped like a date palm tree.

Hundreds of laborers were evacuated from the scene. One construction worker was hospitalized and two others treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, officials said. Work halted on building sites across the island, which began opening its newly built luxury mansions to residents this year.

State-owned developer Nakheel said in a statement that the fire ignited building materials on the site. Firefighters extinguished the blaze in about two hours.

The 12-square-mile island group has about 14,000 laborers building an offshore neighborhood that will house more than 100,000 residents and workers when finished by 2011.

The Palm Jumeirah is part of a US$14 billion project to build several manmade islands in what's billed as the largest land-reclamation project in the world, involving the hauling of millions of tons of Gulf sand and quarried rock.

Dubai's government expects the Palm Jumeirah to become a signature tourist attraction, bringing in as many as 20,000 daily visitors.

The island's trunk section, its 17 "fronds" and its outer crescent are studded with thousands of homes and apartments, most of which are still under construction. Britons and other Europeans have bought a large portion of the homes as vacation properties.

Also being built is the Trump Tower and Hotel, developed by New York-based Donald Trump, and the 1,500-room Atlantis Hotel by South Africa and Dubai-owned Kerzner International. The hotel will be similar to its Atlantis hotel in The Bahamas.


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