Firefighters rescue 15 people from burning Adelaide hotel as authorities respond to alarm concerns

·3-min read

Authorities say fire alarms were working at an Adelaide hotel where a blaze broke out causing injuries to seven people, despite some guests saying they did not hear the alarm.

More than 40 firefighters rushed to the Comfort Hotel Adelaide Meridien on Melbourne Street in North Adelaide after a fire broke out about 6.30am.

Fifteen people required rescuing, including some who were stranded on hotel balconies, and a man who jumped into the hotel pool after acquiring serious burns to his hands and feet.

Multiple guests have told media on the scene that they did not hear the hotel’s fire alarms or PA during the emergency, however, Metropolitan Fire Service media liaison Krystle Mitchell said that “on arrival, our crews heard alarms sounding and people were evacuating”.

A front desk worker at the hotel also told Guardian Australia that he heard the alarms.

“I can say for an absolute fact I was the first person on-site there to work this morning and the fire alarms were all working. And there was a lot of noise so I can definitely counteract that,” he said.

While he did not wish to go into more details he also provided the hotel’s official statement.

“All guests are safe and accounted for. We thank the police and the fire people for the quick response and assistance, and the fire was contained to one room.”

The MFS spokesperson said that while the fire was contained to the room of origin, smoke spread through “pretty much the whole motel”.

“So there will be smoke damage … Because it’s a commercial building it will need a structural assessment. So, yes, the fire was contained to the one room, but how much structural damage has been done, they won’t know that until an engineer comes in to do that assessment,” she said.

Multiple guests told media outlets on the scene that they did not hear the hotel’s fire alarms during the emergency.

“There was no fire or smoke alarms going off and no instructions over the PA system,” guest Darren Whitfield told the Advertiser newspaper.

“There were no visible exit signs through the smoke … I could see people crawling on the floor in really thick smoke … I let them into our room … They were covered in black soot and coughing really badly.”

Others told the ABC that they were alerted to the fire after hearing banging and popping, and the sound of other guests yelling.

Despite SA police previously suggesting that the fire may have been purposefully lit, a spokesperson for the city’s fire service said that investigations had concluded that the cause was accidental.

SA police superintendent, Matt Nairn, confirmed that residents from all of the 95 occupied rooms at the time had been accounted for.

“Seven people have gone to hospital at the stage … One had relatively severe burns but the rest have just got fire associated medical conditions,” he told media.

“We’ve got one gentleman with hands and feet burns, we’ve got some that have gone to the hospital for smoke inhalation.”

Nairn confirmed that arrangements were already being made to find alternative accommodation for the rest of the guests.

“We’re working with the management for the establishment to actually help them re-establish, rehouse and get people out,” he said.

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