Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Boiler room explosion rocks Riu MoBay - One killed, three injured

Published:Friday | April 21, 2017 | 4:00 AMAdrian Frater

WESTERN BUREAU:

Hotel Riu in Ironshore, Montego Bay, in St James was rocked by an explosion in the boiler room shortly before 3:30 p.m. yesterday, resulting in the death of one employee and serious injuries to three others.

Chaos reigned for hours afterwards as a huge cloud of smoke blanketed the luxury resort.

A bus operator, who was at the property at the time, told The Gleaner that he heard a loud explosion and subsequently saw three men, with parts of their clothes burned off, running away from the direction of the boiler room, looking quite terrified.

"When I asked what had happened, one of them told me that there was an explosion in the boiler room and he feared that one of his colleagues was killed," the driver explained. "He said four of them were working in the boiler room at the time."

Shortly after the explosion, several units from the St James Fire Department rushed to the scene and proceeded to carry out cooling-down operations in and around the area.

The injured workers were taken to the Cornwall Regional Hospital. It was later confirmed that one man had died and three others hospitalised.

 

CREATED PANIC

 

While efforts to speak to someone in management at the hotel proved futile, an employee shared that the situation was quite scary. According to her, after the jolt caused by the explosion, which shook the office where she was, the smoke that engulfed the compound created a great deal of panic.

"It was a very loud explosion. We did not know what had caused it, so people began running around, looking for places to hide," the worker said. "Before long, the thick, black smoke began to filter into the building."

Public relations officer for the Jamaica Fire Brigade Emilio Ebanks later said: "The situation that existed at the time of the explosion has been dealt with. As things are, we have no reason to recommend any kind of closure as the area where it (the explosion) took place, we are satisfied that further danger has been averted."

Up to press time, one fire unit and an ambulance were still at the hotel.

adrian.frater@gleanerjm.com