Thu | Jun 29, 2017

Explosion-hit Riu under lockdown - Guests relocated, blast being investigated

Published:Saturday | April 22, 2017 | 4:00 AMAdrian Frater

WESTERN BUREAU:

Hotel Riu Reggae in Montego Bay, St James, was fairly quiet yesterday as guests were relocated to other properties to facilitate the Jamaica Fire Brigade's (JFB) investigation of Thursday's explosion which resulted in the death of one employee and injuries to others.

Sederhori McIntosh, a maintenance manager at the property, was killed in the incident which occurred shortly before 3:30 p.m. Three of his colleagues are now in hospital nursing injuries sustained in the explosion.

Emeleo Ebanks, public relations officer for the JFB, said: "We have been doing constant reassessment, and in one of the assessments, we had a look at the structure of the property and some of the supplies in terms of electricity and air conditioning plant. We then took a decision to evacuate the property."

He said the site of the explosion (the boiler room area) had been cordoned off to prevent contamination of evidence needed to determine the cause.

In the meantime, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett expressed regret about the fatal incident.

 

MINISTRY OFFERS SUPPORT

 

"I am deeply saddened about the unfortunate accident that occurred at the Hotel Riu Reggae, which resulted in several injuries and the loss of a life," he said in a press statement. "I offer my sincere condolences to the staff of the hotel as they cope with the aftermath of this tragic incident. I also offer my support to the families and friends of the other injured staff members, who are all receiving treatment in the hospital."

Bartlett added, "The Ministry of Tourism will continue to monitor the situation and will be working closely with the hotel to ensure that the grieving families receive the necessary support during this difficult time."

While a timeline on the completion of the investigation and necessary repairs remains unclear, a source familiar with the operation of hotels said it could significantly affect bookings, which were expected to be at a peak level at this time of the year.

adrian.frater@gleanerjm.com