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Hotel Fire Reveals Faulty Safety Measures

December 2, 2005

A San José hotel’s lack of fire safetymeasures was revealed Nov. 23 when afire that broke out in the basement of thebuilding left several guests trapped onupper floors after a large column ofsmoke left the main staircase – the onlyescape route – inaccessible, according tothe daily La Nación.The fire, which took place at theHotel Inca Real in the eastern neighborhoodof Barrio Amón, didn’t result in anyinjuries or deaths among the more than 50guests and hotel staff who were evacuated,authorities told The Tico Times.People who were trapped on the topfloors due to the lack of safety exits hadto be rescued by firefighters using extendableladders to reach the upper windows.The architectural plans for the remodelingof the building when it was convertedto a hotel were never given to theFirefighters’ Corps of Engineers and thebuilding was not certified by the CostaRican Tourism Institute (ICT), La Naciónreported.Hotel personnel told the daily theytried to put out the fire with fire extinguishersbut couldn’t find any in the hallways.The fire originated from a short circuitin the basement storeroom caused fromthe kitchen staff preparing breakfast, thenmoved to the kitchen and damaged partsof the dining room, according to the daily.

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