Speedy response brings fire drama at Europa Hotel in Belfast city centre to a close

A fire at the Europa Hotel in Belfast has been extinguished with no injuries to any guests following an evacuation, it has been confirmed.

Friday, 14th January 2022, 9:00 pm

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) say the fire, on the 11th floor, is believed to have been accidental at this early stage.

NIFRS group commander Paul Rogers commended hotel staff for their handling of the evacuation, and praised the quick response of fire crews in preventing the fire from developing into a larger blaze.

Great Victoria Street had been closed to assist with evacuation efforts but has since reopened.

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Paul Rogers, NIFRS group commander, said: “We were mobilised at 18:06 and attended the Europa Hotel three minutes later with our first appliance.

“We found smoke was exuding from an apartment on the 11th floor, a bedroom.

“Evacuation was taking place when we arrived, by the Hastings Staff themselves.

“We continued to help with that evacuation and then sent breathing apparatus teams to that floor and the fire was successfully extinguished.

Pacemaker Press 14-01-2022: Motorists are asked to avoid Belfast city centre's Great Victoria Street as it, along with Bruce Street, are currently closed as the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service are dealing with a fire in the area. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press.

“We believe it to be accidental but that is still to be confirmed.

“There have been no injuries. The staff did a great job in the evacuation process and our crews were great in terms of the speed that they actually got to the fire which, undoubtedly, stopped it from travelling to other compartments on that floor and developing into a larger fire.

“The guests have returned. It was contained to that one apartment on the 11th floor, where there is some construction work completed at the minute so there were no guests on that floor itself.”

One of those who was in the hotel at the time, Mark Holland, said: “I was having drinks in the Europa, then the alarms went off inside the hotel. After the second set of alarms went off, five to ten minutes later, we were told to [leave] and escorted out of the fire exit of the Piano Bar.”

Pacemaker Press 14-01-2022: Motorists are asked to avoid Belfast city centre's Great Victoria Street as it, along with Bruce Street, are currently closed as the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service are dealing with a fire in the area. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press.

Mr Holland, who was celebrating a birthday, said he was “only outside for about five minutes after and saw five or six fire engines come to the building and police arriving to start closing the area off.”

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Pacemaker Press 14-01-2022: Motorists are asked to avoid Belfast city centre's Great Victoria Street as it, along with Bruce Street, are currently closed as the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service are dealing with a fire in the area. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press.

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