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HOTEL FIRE NEW JOURNAL-61
 

Guests flee hotel fireFire broke out at Ameritania Hotel in Midtown

(Midtown- ,May 15, 2007) - Tourists were forced onto the street by a fire that spewed smoke through a Midtown Manhattan hotel Tuesday morning.

Officials say the fire broke out inside the Ameritania Hotel at 230 West 54th Street just before 2:30 a.m.
The fire was reportedly mostly confined to the first-floor luggage room.

But smoke from the fire filled the 13-story hotel, sending guests fleeing to the street.

"We got down to floor number two and then there was a lot of smoke," one guest said. "We didn't know what was going on for a little while until the fire department got here."

Authorities say seven people were injured, at least four of them hotel guests. They were choked up by the smoke and taken to a nearby hospital.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. It may be electrical in nature.

The hotel reopened several hours after the fire. Some guests had to be relocated

Historic Greymouth hotel saved by fire crews

Up to 40 firemen battled for more than two hours to save Greymouth's historic Railway Hotel last night.


Fire crews from the neighbouring Cobden, Runanga and Brunner brigades combined with three Greymouth Volunteer Fire Brigade units to fight the blaze in the upstairs guests'.

Greymouth fire chief Alan McEnaney said it was "hot and dangerous work".

The first appliances arrived on the scene at 10.45pm and were still fighting the fire at 1am today.

"It looks like it started in an electrical point in a wall socket in the manager's flat and moved into a false ceiling, which was little more than a foot high, spreading from there," Mr McEnaney said.

"It was too windy for us to get in from the roof so we had to enter from the gables and break through the first ceiling to attack it."

Hotel staff said it was fortunate gangs of visiting builders and painters, who had been staying at the hotel, had headed home for the weekend.

Only one of the guest rooms was occupied when a staff member noticed smoke. Other staff members kicked in the door to the manager's room and immediately called 111 when they saw the extent of the blaze.

Owner Grant Olsen said this morning he was hoping to have the bar up and running again later today.

"It's up to the fire department. I really can't do anything until they give me the all clear. "I have to thank all the fire officers and police. They did a fantastic job of saving the old girl (the hotel), and Kim (Sims) the manager, and staff did a great job of getting everyone out."

The fire caused extensive damage.

 

Hotel management mum on fire damage

May 22, 2007, 11:15

The local management of the Malelane Sun hotel has refused to speak to the media regarding the fire that destroyed the main complex of the hotel early this morning.

The complex was gutted. It included the reception, restaurant and kitchen, and a conference room. However the surrounding chalets were not affected. The cause of the fire has not yet been established. About 60 guests, mainly international tourists, have been moved to a neighbouring resort.

The luxurious hotel is one of four in Mpumalanga owned by the Southern Sun Hotel Group. It is right next to the Malelane entrance gate to the Kruger Park. The resort has more than 100 chalets.

 

High-risk investigation; Kapuskasing Inn fire site poses problems for fire, police crews


May 24, 2007 @ 10:00

An investigation into the cause of a fire at a Northern Ontario landmark continued Wednesday.

The fire, which started early Tuesday morning, gutted the top floor of the Kapuskasing Inn, but the cause of the blaze had not yet been determined by Fire Marshall Office fire investigator John Montgomery, who examined the scene with OPP forensics identification Const. Tom Gant all day Wednesday.

"We're limited as to what we can do at the scene," Montgomery said. "Accessing the hotel has been difficult."

Because the hotel has been closed for about five years, Montgomery explained that health and safety problems have made the almost 80-year-old inn too much of a hazardous environment to enter.

"There's a lot of mould throughout the entire building according to the local health unit," Montgomery said.

"We don't know the extent of it, but it's considered very risky to go inside."

Montgomery and the rest of the investigating team could only examine the ruins of the Kapuskasing Inn using a small mobile crane that could raise them up beside the top floor.


"It feels so empty, but I hope they fix it. It's very sad."

Pauline Dumas

Gant said that no one in authority felt comfortable permitting anyone to examine the interior of the hotel for fear of floors or other structural elements collapsing.

"It's a shame the hotel burnt like this," Gant said.

"There's so much history behind this building."

Montgomery could not disclose much, because the investigation is ongoing, but he believes the fire was started on the third, or top, floor and was put out before it spread much further.

The fire investigator said his work at the scene would likely conclude by the end of the day, then he would file his report and the OPP would continue to work with his findings.

Lead investigator OPP Det. Sgt. Todd Selvage added that the OPP is interviewing witnesses to the fire and following leads, but no suspects have been identified as of yet.

"This investigation is still so fresh," Selvage said.

"It's ongoing and a lot of what we conclude will hinge on what the fire investigation tells us."

Kapuskasing chief administrative officer Yvan Brousseau explained that the owner of the inn, Donato Di Salle, a private investor based in Toronto, will have 30 days to pull down the remains of the building once the investigation concludes.

"He wanted to revive the inn and bring it back to its original shape, but now that plan is gone, finished," Brousseau said.

"There's no way to renovate it now."

Brousseau said Di Salle plans to salvage some of the materials that make up the building.

According to the Northern Times newspaper, Di Salle wanted to turn the closed hotel into a casino, but he was feeling victimized because the inn had suffered four smaller fires in the last year.

Brousseau told The Daily Press Kapuskasing is grateful to the towns of Val Rita-Harty, Moonbeam and Fauquier-Strickland for sending firefighters and pump trucks to help put out the fire, which he estimates took about 30 hours.

Spruce Falls Inc., the original owners of the local mill, built the hotel at the corner of Riverside Drive and Drury Street, the town civic centre next door, and 10 Drury Place, a seniors' home that used to be the town hospital, as facilities to attract investors to the town in 1928.

Pauline Dumas, 83, moved to Kapuskasing when she was 18, then got a job as a server in the hotel's kitchen.

"It was the only job I could get because I couldn't speak English," Dumais said.

"I can't imagine them keeping the hotel up now. It feels so empty, but I hope they fix it.

"It's very sad."

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