Sunday 5 February 2023

Two dead and four injured in a fire at a hotel in downtown San José

An older adult losers her life in a fire in San Jose de Alajuela hours earlier, trapped inside her home

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4 February 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – Two people lost their lives and four were injured during a fire at the Hotel Gran París, located on Avenida 1, in the center of San José. The Fire Department received the alert at 12:46 am this Wednesday.

The fire consumed at least 2,500 square meters (m²) and was brought under control at 2:01 am, confirmed by the fire supervisor, Steven Pérez. In total, 80 firefighters and 14 units attended the emergency in the three-story, 70-room building.

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The hotel did not have a second exit, forcing guests to walk 50 to 60 meters through smoke and toxic gases to be safe.

In addition, eight retail stores were affected by the flames. The establishments had security methods such as bars and wires. “It was necessary to make forced entries to enter the premises,” said Héctor Chaves, director of the Fire Department.

More than 80 firefighters worked to bring the fire under control that destroyed completely the three-story, 70-room structure in downtown San Jose. Photo: Screenshot

These deaths bring the number of deaths from fires to 11 this year. The Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) is investigating the causes of the incident, a protocol when there is a loss of life, but it does not mean there was a criminal hand to have caused the fire.

Senior loses life in Alajuela fire

In an unrelated event, Tuesday evening a senior lost her life in a fire in San José de Alajuela, the woman trapped by a closed gate, losing her live only a couple of meters from the locked gate as the fire completely consumer the house despite the work by the Fire Department.

An older adult dies two meters from the door of her burned house despite the work of the Fire Department, the fire completely consumed the house. (Courtesy)

Fire Chief Chavez commented that the woman most likely perished while trying to find the keys to the dwelling’s only exit.

Sergio Bolaños, an official of the Fire Department, confirmed that “upon our arrival, the house where she lived was totally compromised by the fire. Unfortunately there was an older adult who could not get out, being only two meters from the entrance”.

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The official made a wake-up call for smoke detectors to be placed in homes and emergency evacuation plans to be made.

In both cases it is too premature to determine the cause and origin of the fires.

The names of the victims were not released to the press.

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