Shelbourne guests criticise hotel handling of evacuation
Five-star hotel conducting investigation into what exactly caused fault with the fire alarm
The hotel said that “during the incident the fire team and management followed correct protocols designed to ensure the safety of our guests and staff”. Photograph: The Irish Times
The Shelbourne Hotel has refused to comment on fresh claims from guests caught up in an evacuation early on Saturday morning that they were not properly assisted by staff.
The hotel was criticised at the weekend for not helping a guest using a wheelchair who was injured in the Bataclan massacre in Paris to leave a fifth-floor room during an evacuation prompted by a false alarm.
Katie Healy and David Nolan, who survived the terrorist attack in Paris in November, expressed concern over the manner in which the hotel was evacuated at about 1am after the fire alarm sounded on three occasions.
On the first occasion, the couple called the front desk and were told it was a false alarm. Mr Nolan told staff he was in a wheelchair after suffering gunshot wounds in the Bataclan attack. On the third occasion the alarm went off the couple were advised to make their way down to the lobby.
“I was in a room that’s for wheelchairs,” said Mr Nolan. “I wasn’t offered any kind of assistance or anything like that to come down. It was five flights of stairs on crutches. In cases like this it is quite difficult for someone to get back down. I had to use my crutches and go down the fire escape slowly.”
Responding to the criticism the hotel insisted correct protocols had been followed.
“We are currently conducting an investigation into what caused a fault in the fire alarm which led to the hotel being evacuated last night,” said a spokeswoman over the weekend. “While we quickly identified that there was no fire anywhere in the hotel, during the incident the fire team and management followed correct protocols designed to ensure the safety of our guests and staff.”
Gregory Torf was another guest in the hotel and he echoed Mr Nolan’s concerns over the manner in which the evacuation process was handled.
He was staying on the seventh floor with his wife and infant child. “We were told to stay in the room while security was telling everyone the complete hotel was being evacuated,” he said.
“People including my 70-year-old mother were left in the rooms,” he said, adding that his wife had had a panic attack as a result of the evacuation. It led to the family checking into another hotel in the middle of the night.
The Shelbourne declined to discuss Mr Torf’s concerns.