Towels were main casualty in Ritz-Carlton fire

| 03/09/2020 | 13 Comments
Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman

(CNS): The management of the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman was breathing a sigh of relief Thursday following a small fire at the resort’s Bar Jack on Wednesday night, as towels appeared to be the main casualty. The blaze was quickly extinguished by the Cayman Islands Fire Service and no one was hurt. The fire comes as the Ritz emerges from a modest staycation summer, and while its manager, Marc Langevin, said there were some silver linings, the road to tourism recovery would be complex.

“Although the occupancy levels were modest compared to what we had seen in previous years, reopening our resort for staycations back in June had plenty of silver linings and it proved to have many positive outcomes,” Langevin said in a response to CNS. “For our ‘staycationers’, we were able to showcase our myriad of resort experiences, legendary service and amenities and remind our local guests of the beauty of the destination.”

The manager of the islands second largest hotel said people don’t have to leave the island to have a memorable vacation.

“I was amazed by the number of heartwarming comments, even from multi-generation born Caymanians, who shared they had never stayed on Seven Mile Beach before and enjoyed the experience either with their families or as a getaway from their families after the quarantine period,” he said.

Langevin said employees’ wages were certainly impacted due to the significantly reduced gratuity pool but it provided a newfound appreciation for the ability to work and for our guests. “They were all eager to return to operations and it shows in the outstanding service provided for our local guests across the resort,” Langevin said about his team.

Reopening to locals has also provide an opportunity for the resort to trial the enhanced service protocols to support more robust sanitizing standards and promote social distancing in all areas of the resort. It allowed time to prepare a safe environment for guests and employees as the islands slowly and safely welcome back stay-over visitors.

“We are truly appreciative of the support we received through the patronage and generosity of our local guests to support our employees during this difficult period, their words of encouragement, understanding and appreciation,” he said.

But Langevin is well aware of the up hill struggle ahead. “While the road that led to the successful suppression of the COVID-19 virus in the Cayman Islands was fairly straightforward thanks to the regulations and policies put in place by the government as well as their proactive testing, the road to recovery seems much more complex,” he said.

“It will have to be treated with the knowledge and insight of a matured leadership supported by a collaborative approach and participation not just from the government entities but from the private sector as well,” he added.

Langevin warned that the dynamic process ahead will require rigor, but also calculated risk, as the country transitions through the various re-opening phases.

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Comments (13)

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  1. Anon says:

    Glad to hear our gallant firefighters are getting some exercise, but what about those stationed at the airport. Now that we have 3 new state of the art fire engines costing millions are we going to get an aircraft fire?, they are as rare here as an honest politician.

    • Annoyed says:

      Stupid, do you really want an aircraft fire? Does your family fly? Wishing for an aircraft fire is so stupid of you.

      • Anon says:

        4.35pm Badly phrased, I was referring to the cost of these special airport fire engines and the fact that they are unlikely to be used based on past history.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes. Very badly phrased. And badly thought through. We invite you to repost with more details of why you assume having the equipment to deal with an aviation emergency, e.g., an airplane full of passengers and fuel emergency landing with an engine on fire, is a waste of money.

        • Annoyed says:

          Having these special vehicles is the cost of safety, the fire department is an insurance policy that many of us would rather not need, just like a car insurance, we pay yearly and hope we never have to cash in on it.
          Without these special vehicles that need to meet airport standards many of the jets that touch down at the airport would not be able to.
          So the next time you want to degrade the fire department and its employees, just think that these guys are trained and ready to risk their lives to possibly save yours and your loved ones.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Apparently the retards toasting marshmallows on the beach, put the warm charcoals in a bin next to the towel storage unit. Insurance claim denied.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Cabin fever is not cured by staycations.

    How regular and thorough the mandatory Fire Marshal inspection of hotels are? This is the topic that never been covered by Cayman media.

    Qualifications of those who conducts inspections, how extensive check lists are? Typical violations?
    From overcharged/undercharged/missing/locked/blocked fire extinguishers to lint excess/flammable materials/buildup if debris in laundry rooms. Sprinklers, alarms, smoke detectors, exit doors…the list is long and I’d assume it would take at least a week to inspect large hotels.

    CNS, is it possible to write an article about it? Since most hotels are idle due to Covid19, one would think the management would use the break to inspect every nook&cranny.

    Reopening a hotel after a temporary shutdown or reduced operation of a building and reductions in normal water use can create hazards for returning occupants.

    Two potential microbial hazards that should be considered prior to reopening after a period of building inactivity are mold and Legionella (the cause of Legionnaires’ disease). For mold, a “prolonged period” may be days, weeks, or months depending upon building-specific factors, season, and weather variables.
    For Legionella, a “prolonged period” may be weeks or months depending on plumbing-specific factors, disinfectant residuals, water heater temperature set points, water usage patterns, and preexisting Legionella colonization.

    Additional hazards may exist for returning occupants. These can include other microbial hazards, such as non-tuberculous mycobacteria, changes in water chemistry that lead to corrosion, leaching of metals (such as lead) into stagnant water, disinfection by-products, and sewer gases that enter buildings through dry sanitary sewer drain traps.

    After a prolonged shutdown and before occupants return, buildings should be assessed for mold and excess moisture.
    After a building is reopened and occupied, routine (e.g., weekly) checks of the HVAC system are recommended to ensure operating efficiency.

    Is it being done in Cayman? Who monitors it and is responsible for prevention of potential outbreaks mentioned above?

    Fire in RitzCarlton is worrying for it indicates violation of safety.

    CNS: All tourism accommodation facilities in the Cayman Islands are inspected by the Cayman Islands Fire Service, DEH and the DoT annually. The various inspectors are trained to do this and I’ve no reason to believe that these inspections fall short, rather it is my understanding that they are quite thorough. We would do an article if we had credible information to the contrary. Accidents do happen and the fact that this was small and contained suggests that the safety measures worked.

    • Anonymous says:

      But do they address, or even aware of the unique circumstance created by temporary shutdowns or reduced operations that could create hazards for returning occupants?

      There’s no such a thing as a small fire in a hotel, let alone partially occupied hotel. It is always a fire code violation.

      CDC USA ( Center for disease control and prevention) has issued “Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation
      Ensure the safety of your occupants and building water system and devices”

      Did Cayman fire service, DOE or DoT issue such a guidance for the Cayman hotels?
      Are they even aware about the risks mentioned in the CDC guidance?

    • Tom says:

      The Ritz just had fire inspections couple weeks before the fire. It is human error where towels was misplace. I work in tourism business and I do see fire inspections often.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why vote down my comment? Did you even read it?
      Or DoT, DEH or Fire service have issued an equivalent of CDC “Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation Ensure the safety of your occupants and building water system and devices”?

      Or mold, Legionella, non-tuberculous mycobacteria, changes in water chemistry that lead to corrosion, leaching of metals (such as lead) into stagnant water, disinfection by-products, and sewer gases that enter buildings through dry sanitary sewer drain traps are potential hazards everywhere else but Cayman?

      I bet DoT would roll their eyes having no idea what CDC guidance is about.

    • Anonymous says:

      I used to work at RCGC and they’re way ahead of you on all these points. They are responsible to their international standards for fire protection as well as water safety and what they do in these arenas far exceed local requirements.

      Annual fire inspections are really just to catch very bad infractions (many of which are still not enforced locally). Marriott international mandates many best practices which include weekly checks of critical life safety systems.

      Trust me, they’re way ahead on this. Whatever set those towels on fire was most likely some idiot with a cigarette or something.

      • Anonymous says:

        Indeed, indeed. I do happen to remember how for weeks in the former Treasure Island the “international standards” for water safety “far exceed[ed] local requirements”. Blue residue covered sinks, tubs and laundry. I called DoE, they asked ME to bring water samples, which I did (I was just a resident). Weeks passed before I got some sort of verbal explanation that there indeed were too much copper(or watever) in water and TI had its own water station with just ONE PERSON managing it, with no oversight etc. I moved out by then.

        So may be large hotels do maintain local or as you say international standards, but who overseeing water and fire safety in small hotels?

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