Tuesday, June 18, 2024

No injuries reported after Hotel Emporio fire in Acapulco

Still in recovery mode after a direct strike from Hurricane Otis 10 weeks ago, Acapulco experienced another disaster-type scenario on Wednesday: a fire in the Hotel Emporio with smoke billowing out from the top floors.

The fire consumed a room on the 12th floor, fraying the nerves of guests and forcing the evacuation of workers from high floors. The Emporio is one of the hotels that reopened for the Christmas and New Year’s tourist rush.

Shortly after 1:30 p.m., a column of smoke could be seen from different points in the city and from across the bay. The fire occurred only one day after Acapulco was finally in the news for a positive reason: an 88% hotel occupancy rate on the first day of 2024.

The Pacific Coast resort area has been trying to recover since Hurricane Otis made landfall on Oct. 25 as a Category 5 storm and caused widespread damage. According to a Dec. 20 update from Guerrero Governor Evelyn Salgado, 52 people died as a direct result of the hurricane and searches were continuing for 32 others who were still missing — numbers that many contend are well understated.

Fortunately, there were no victims or injuries in the Wednesday fire, although firefighters from both the municipality and state levels responded. The National Guard was called in to patrol the area in the Zona Dorada (Golden Zone). The fire was put out shortly after 2 p.m.

In the wake of Hurricane Otis, the Emporio shut down for 50 days to carry out repair work, resuming its services on Dec. 15 with 300 of 422 rooms in operation. Hotel managers said Otis caused damage to 50% of Emporio’s rooms and wreaked havoc on the grounds and in common areas, breaking glassware and damaging ceilings. Affected areas included swimming pools and restaurants.

Acapulco’s civil protection and firefighters coordinator, Efrén Valdez Ramírez, said that the fire started in an unoccupied room in the 14-story Joya Tower, and spread to two other rooms — perhaps through air conditioning vents. 

Workers who were fixing up and remodeling rooms on the 10th through 12th floors were evacuated; some media reports said guests were, too, but another said there were guests only up to the ninth floor of that tower. No damage was reported on the ground floor, which is where a United States consular agency is located but has been closed since the hurricane.

The Hotel Emporio, owned by Grupo Diestra, lists eight locations on its website, including Cancún, Mexico City and Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit.

In Acapulco, the Emporio opened in 1962 as the Acapulco Hilton,  an iconic luxury property built during the golden era of the city’s tourism boom and a hotspot for Hollywood celebrities, politicians and affluent travelers.

With reports from La Jornada, Aristegui Noticias and Quadratin

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