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Eleven people have died and 19 were injured in a fire at a hotel in Georgia’s Black Sea resort city of Batumi, Georgia’s Interior Minister has confirmed.
Ten of the victims were Georgian citizens while the other was a citizen of Iran, according to the Interior Ministry. All of them died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The fire broke out in the five-star Leogrand Hotel, which opened in 2015, at around 20:00 on 24 November, with smoke spreading throughout the building.
It’s so far unconfirmed what caused the fire, which was extinguished around 01:30.
More than 100 people, including guests and hotel employees, had to be evacuated, some with rescue ladders, as there were no fire escape ladders in the hotel, Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia told Rustavi 2.
Twenty-one people had to be rushed to hospital and by 10:00 on 25 November, 13 had been discharged. None were seriously injured, the Healthcare Ministry of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara said.
Gakharia said it was ‘obvious’ the hotel had violated fire safety rules, adding if the investigation confirms this, ‘very severe decisions must be made’.
The manager of the hotel denied the claim to Adjara TV, but refused to either confirm or deny that fire escape ladders were installed in the hotel.
Head of Adjara’s Tourism Department Sulkhan Ghlonti told Adjara TV the hotel was not included on their list of recommended hotels, as it fell short of a number of criteria. The department made it’s criteria for fire safety stricter after a 2015 fire in Kobuleti.
Three children died in the fire at a hotel in the seaside town in Adjara, after which the Georgian Government promised to adopt new fire safety regulations, but these were never passed.
The Interior Ministry has launched an investigation for ‘violating fire safety rules’.