The Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) has refuted claims on social media that a fire that broke out at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare on Wednesday engulfed a huge portion of the hotel as it only covered one square meter.
In a statement issued late Wednesday evening, RTG said a fire broke out in one of their smaller conference rooms due to a possible electrical fault, which is the main base of operations for a Sadc election observation team, but was contained.
“An isolated fire incident occurred in one of the Rainbow Towers Hotel & Conference Centre smaller conference rooms situated on the Mezzanine Floor of the hotel at approximately 1900 hours on the evening of July 11, 2018. The fire was successfully contained to a small area in the ceiling of the conference room approximately one square metre. The fire alarm system was immediately triggered and the Fire Brigade was called and responded timeously,” RTG said.
“Six guests, who were in the conference room when the incident happened, were quickly evacuated together with all guests and hotel staff present in the building at that time. There were no casualties nor damage to property save for a small affected part of the ceiling.”
RTG said all guests and staff at the hotel were also evacuated in line with the fire evacuation procedure for approximately one hour until the building was deemed safe for use.
“Preliminary investigations by the hotel maintenance and engineering team indicate possibly a localised electrical fault could have caused the fire. A thorough investigation is underway,” RTG said.
“We thank all our guests for co-operating with the staff at the time of this isolated fire incident.”
Since Wednesday evening, social media has been awash with false claims that the fire took place over a larger area of the hotel due to the presence of the fire brigade, guests and hotel staffers, who congregated outside the hotel.
To that effect, pictures of the displaced guests, staffers and the fire brigade vehicle were trending on social media platform Facebook.
However, NewsDay established this was due to the RTG protocol, which requires an evacuation of the hotel when there is a fire, which, in this case, was, indeed, on one square metre, which was shown to the paper yesterday.
City of Harare corporate communications manager Michael Chideme did not answer repeated calls to his two mobile numbers to comment on the cause or extent of the fire as city council speaks on behalf of the fire brigade.
Rainbow Towers Hotel is the busiest in the RTG group, which is currently experiencing improved occupancy due to housing foreign election observation teams