Fire safety in Dominican Republic hotels is in the spotlight after two major properties caught fire in less than 48 hours. Both incidents occurred in the touristy province of Bayahibe, in Altagracia, where Punta Cana is also located. Two firefighters were injured in one of the fires, but all of the hotels’ occupants were unharmed. The incidents are a major wake-up call for hotels and authorities ahead of the record-breaking winter season.
Officials have launched an investigation after two hotels caught fire in less than 48 hours in Bayahíbe. Although the cases are not thought to be linked, they have prompted calls for more resources to be allocated to firefighters and fire-safety measures.
The first fire occurred Monday afternoon in the Hotel Be Live Collection Canoa, located on the Bayahíbe highway, close to Dominicus beach. Firefighters were immediately alerted to the scene and assisted authorities in putting out the fire, which caused significant damage to the hotel’s restaurant and several outdoor amenities. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation, and there are several theories as to its origin.
It took firefighters more than two hours to extinguish the fire, and authorities say the fire spread quickly within the property. Officials say that the hotel’s extensive use of bamboo, wood, and hay helped the fire to spread quickly and also made extinguishing it more challenging. Fortunately, no guests were injured due to the fire, and the hotel staff was able to evacuate the public from the affected area.
Hotel guests took to social media to post pictures and videos of the fire, which prompted officials to call for more investments in firefighting equipment. The hotel is currently operational, and none of its rooms were damaged by the fire. However, two firefighters were injured after a wooden object fell on them, injuring their legs.
The second fire took place in Hotel Catalonia, where a fire broke out on Sunday night in the hotel’s restaurant. Local firefighters rushed to the scene to extinguish the flames, and backup was called in from the nearby provinces of La Romana, San Rafael del Yuma, and Bávaro-Punta Cana.
The fire quickly spread to other parts of the hotel, but firefighters were able to extinguish the flames and prevent the fire from reaching the reception and rooms. Fortunately, no injuries were reported, although the fire caused considerable damage to the hotel’s restaurant area and several outdoor amenities. The hotel’s medical office was also reportedly damaged.
In both cases, fires broke out in one of the hotels’ restaurants and quickly spread as a result of strong winds. Authorities are now looking into the fires and have launched a detailed investigation into their cause. Officials will certainly be paying close attention to fire safety regulations, which are critical in areas like kitchens and restaurants.
Most large hotels and resorts regularly train staff members to deal with fire emergencies, which can wreak havoc on large properties. Many hotels use materials like bamboo and hay roofs, which can easily catch fire. Although rare, fires break out occasionally, sometimes causing permanent damage, such as last year when a fire nearly destroyed the entirety of Casa Bonita, a small hotel in Barahona.
The Dominican Republic is gearing up for a record-breaking winter travel season as millions of travelers are expected to flock to the tropical island. In the meantime, authorities are working to improve road safety in the aftermath of October’s deadly bus crash in Punta Cana. Over the following weeks, officials are installing new traffic lights, closing several dangerous intersections, and tightening bus company regulations.
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