TOXIC SMOKE FILLING THE NEWLY OPENED HOTEL SENATOR IN MARBELLA IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS OF 19 NOVEMBER 2011
On Friday the 18th November 2011 our family with a 3 year old toddler and a 15 month old baby checked into the SENATOR Hotel in Marbella for a one night stay.
We knew that the Hotel SENATOR had only recently opened and indeed everything seemed brand new and glitzy.
After the usual check in fomalities we finally got to our room on the 4th floor which was OK in every respect other than perhaps being a little on the small side.
After returning from dinner we immediately went to sleep as we were very tired.
At probably between 3 and 4 am I woke up and I thought there was a bad smell in the room.
At first I gave it no further attention and went back to sleep only to wake up again and now identifying the smell you get when you turn on an electric heater that has gathered dust. Both my wife and children were completely asleep.
As the smell got worse and now clearly was no longer a smell but serious toxic smoke that started to fill the room I woke my wife and she immediately realised that this was smoke from a fire.
Then our baby started to cough very badly.
I immediately opened our balcony door and to my amazement saw three fire engines and at least three police cars on the front side of the building with firemen entering the Hotel.
At this moment images of flames coming out from the balconies entered my head. However only smoke could be seen everywhere.
We immediately put on some clothes grabbed essentials and run out of the room only to find that in the hallway smoke was pouring from what seemed to be a fire sprinkler.
Another couple opened the safety exit door to the escape staircase and there we found that the smoke was much less apparent. So we went down into the reception which was smoke filled and out into the road.
Heavy smoke came out from a basement access into the road. Another guest told us that apparently the fire had started in the newly opened Sauna.
By now more guests had decided to leave the hotel for the safety of the street and we were all huddling about in the cold expecting some news about what was going to happen to us.
The manager of the Hotel could be seen on top of the Hotel stairs smoking a cigarette.
Eventually we requested some explanation and information about the situation as obviously everybody was tired and did not want to remain in the street for ever. The Manager almost casually said that the fire had been put out and that everybody could go back to the rooms as it was now only a simple matter of getting rid of the smoke which he estimated would take about an hour.
I made it clear to the manager that both our 3 year old toddler and our baby could not go back into a room where smoke would still be present for at least an hour. He agreed but provided no alternative. So I asked him whether it was safe to retrieve our car from the garage which he said it was and we left.
The following questions need answering both by SENATOR Hotels Group and by the local authorities:
1. Why was there no alarm? We might not have woken up perhaps never because as is well known most people do not die from fire but from the toxic smoke it produces. My wife and my children in particular our baby and 3 year old were fast asleep in our smoke filled room. The fact that there was no alarm which was queried by other guests surely implies that either there was a serious breach of procedure or an inadequate safety system in the Hotel. Fire and smoke procedures are subject to extremely serious inspections by the local authorities in all countries. In fact a hotel normally cannot open or will be closed down if any of these procedures are inadequate, faulty or non existent.
2. There were communications over loudspeakers outside the hotel. We could not hear the words spoken on the 4th floor and it seemed that this was more of communications between the police and the firemen. Apart from that we assume that the communications were in spanish and therefore could not be understood by the foreign guests in any case.
There seemed to be no call to evacuate the hotel as some guests were still waving from their hotel balconies.
3. That the guests were told to go back ot their rooms even though smoke was still pouring out and would be for at least one hour also indicates a complete lack of understanding of the serious health risks of smoke particularly to children.
4. Nobody gave any explanations or assistance to the guests which included many children. We were all required to stand in the cold of the street for over one hour.
You would have thought that a Hotel would have a program in force for such an event including a reciprocal arrangement with another close by hotel for the guests to be able to wait in the reception and be able to use the toilets and get some refreshments in particular for the children.
5. To clear the dining room of thick smoke an industrial fan was brought to the door to literally blow the smoke out of the windows.
6. The penultimate safety question must be: why would a fire in the sauna of the wellness centre of the SENATOR Hotel produce smoke that pours out of every ventilation and airconditioning outlet right up to the top of the hotel?
7. The ultimate safety question must be: why does the SENATOR Hotel in Marbella have no smoke alarms?
We are concerned about the possible longterm effects on the health of our children. When cleaning our noses we were worried to notice that our tissues were black. How much of this has gone into our baby's and toddler's lungs? What is the toxic composition of this smoke?
We are waiting to hear from the SENATOR Hotel group as to compensation for our nightmare and what they will do to prevent this ever from happening again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the heart of the Golden Mile of Marbella, next to the Exhibition and Congress Centre and just minutes from Old Town, surrounded by shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs of Marbella's best to live the glamorous nights on the Costa del Sol If anything distinguishes the hotel Senator Marbella Spa is a spectacular hall dominated by a magnificent pendant. This magnificent large hall can be seen from its two panoramic elevators that rise to the rooms. The hall is the starting point for the rest of the Hotel.: Outdoor pool located on the 7th floor with the best views in Marbella, restaurant, bar, lounge, pub. ... more less
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