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HOTEL FIRE NEW JOURNAL-94
 

Serbia hotel fire kills 3 people, hurts 8

BELGRADE, Serbia, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Three people were killed and eight injured when a fire swept a hotel in Novi Sad, in northern Serbia, police said Wednesday.

The bodies of two men and a woman, guests at a Novi Sad hotel, 50 miles north of Belgrade, were found by firefighters, police said. Firefighters said the three apparently died of smoke inhalation.

The eight injured were hospitalized with lung injuries, which weren't considered life-threatening.

A police official said there were 25 people were in the 300-room hotel when the fire started shortly before midnight Tuesday. The six-story hotel quickly filled with dense smoke, which hampered firefighters without oxygen equipment, to tackle the blaze.

Firefighters with 18 trucks worked five hours to gett the fire under control and prevent it from spreading to an apartment building adjoining the hotel.

 

Damage to Alendo Hotel estimated in millions

16:28:23 - 12 December 2007

Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture Callista Chimombo Tuesday toured gutted Alendo Hotel at the Malawi Institute of Tourism (MIT) and assured members of staff and students that the campus would not close down.

Chimombo and deputy minister Billy Kaunda visited the campus following a fire Monday night that caused extensive destruction to the hotel, MIT’s fundraising and student attachment wing.

She said the campus was an integral part of government’s plan to make tourism a vital cog of the Malawi’s economic growth.

The minister said government would continue to support the institute and would strategise on the way forward in the face of the latest setback.

“This damage to the facility would surely affect the gains and ambitions of government to have well-trained personnel in the tourism industry. However, we must have hope. This is not a hopeless situation. We will not let this place close down.

“Classrooms are still intact. All the employees are here. So we’re not going backwards,” she said during a briefing with staff, students and the media after she toured the destroyed facility.

The fire was reportedly started after an electrical fault caused a television screen in one of the rooms to explode at around 6pm on Monday. The fire then quickly spread to 11 other rooms, a lounge and the kitchen.

Blantyre City Assembly Chief Fire Officer Stanford Nanfuko said fire fighters were on the scene within five minutes after they were called at 6:36 pm.

They battled against the inferno until 8pm, Nanfuko said.

The hotel was fully booked at the time of the fire but there were no casualties.

Sections of the burnt roof had caved into the en-suite rooms where beds and bedding, television screens, fans, kettles, flasks, fridges, curtains and doors lay destroyed.

Telephone and electricity connections were damaged such that there were no lights and telephones at the institute as of Tuesday morning.

Some of the items were still smouldering at the time of The Daily Times’ visited Tuesday morning.

The authorities were still assessing the monetary extent of the damage, which is expected to run into tens of millions of Kwacha.

Bettie Ziyada, a Hospitality and Tourism Management student at the institute feared her group would be affected as the students had been using the hotel for their practical lessons.

“Most of the customers that visit our restaurant are residential ones, which means we also had to make their rooms as part of our lessons. This was equipping us with the requisite skills. Now I don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said.

But MIT Acting Director Milika Jumbe said students that were at such level of training would be relocated to the institute’s other facilities in Mzuzu and Lilongwe.

“Not many students will be seriously affected for now. The classrooms are still intact. Most students are at the moment writing exams until next week when they will go on holiday. Afterwards they will go for their attachments,” she said.

MIT, formerly Government Hotel Training School is a specialist training institution in Malawi, sponsored by the government.

However, 70 percent of the revenue for the institute comes from its three hospitality facilities, which include Lingadzi Inn in Lilongwe, the damaged Alendo Hotel and Mzuzu Lodge.

The institute, an employer of over 65 people at its Blantyre campus alone, runs three-year diploma programmes in Travel and Tourism Management and Hospitality and Tourism Management.

The institute’s management said the tragedy would not affect its call for applications for the January 2008 intake.

 


 
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