Fire at Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel injures nine, causes panic (Second Lead)

February 26th, 2009 - 8:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Feb 26 (IANS) A fire broke out at Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel Thursday afternoon, injuring nine people, causing panic in the city and bringing back harrowing memories of a terror attack there barely five months ago that killed over 50 people.

With conflicting claims, it is not yet clear what caused the fire to break out, but the injured mostly suffered minor burns and suffocation due to smoke. The hotel, one of the two five-star properties in the Pakistani captial, was evacuated as thick smoke billowed out of the windows.

A source in the city’s security apparatus said the fire broke out in the lobby and later spread to another floor. He suspected sabotage, but the hotel administration ruled out such a possibility.

There were also claims of a mild explosion being heard just before the fire broke out, but the hotel management attributed it to an exploding boiler.

The hotel was partially reopened for guests in December, 2008.

The fire at Marriott caused panic in the city as fire tenders and ambulances raced towards the hotel with wailing sirens.

At the hotel, there was complete confusion, with no one clear about what had actually happened. Many guests who had been evacuated anxiously watched smoke coming out of the windows.

Just five months ago, on Sep 20, the hotel had been hit by a truck filled with explosives, killing over 50 people, including the Czech ambassador and three US nationals.

Repair work is continuing in the remaining part of the hotel even as a part of it has been thrown open to guests. The new look hotel has a huge bomb proof security wall around it.

The hotel was to become fully operational in March.

-Indo-Asian News Service


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