(Civil.Ge) — Fire at Leogrand hotel in the seaside resort of Batumi left eleven persons dead, including one Iranian and 10 Georgian citizens, the Interior Ministry reported late-night on November 25.
According to the Ministry’s initial statement on November 24, the emergency services were notified of the blaze at 20:01 yesterday, with rescue teams arriving at the scene three minutes later.
“Thirteen rescue and firefighting vehicles and approximately 100 firefighters were deployed to the area,” the Ministry said in its second statement, adding that the Interior and the Deputy Health Ministers – Giorgi Gakharia and Zaza Sopromadze, respectively – were on their way to Batumi.
Speaking to reporters in Batumi, Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia said fire may have erupted on the fourth floor of the building. “Unfortunately, the only stair-case was filled with smoke and the people were left stranded on the seventh floor,” Gakharia noted, adding that firefighters had to use rescue cranes to evacuate the visitors from the building. As of 00:55, evacuation was announced over.
Zaal Mikeladze, minister of healthcare and social protection in Adjara’s regional government, told reporters that 21 persons were hospitalized with signs of smoke inhalations, 18 of whom remain in Batumi hospitals, including one Israeli, five Turkish and 12 Georgian citizens.
Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who was returning to Georgia from Brussels, landed in Batumi and inspected the incident scene.
“I would like express my condolences to the families and friends of those deceased in a fire in Batumi: this is a tragedy for each of us,” Kvirikashvili said in his brief statement, adding that the investigation was underway and that the government would respond in “strictest terms” to the incident. “Everyone, who is responsible for this tragedy, will be held accountable.”
President Giorgi Margvelashvili and Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze released brief statements as well, extending their condolences to the families of the deceased and thanking the firefighters for rescuing the people, with Giorgi Margvelashvili expressing hope that investigation would “identify the cause of fire as soon as possible.”
Initially, the Ministry said investigation was launched under part two of of article 187 (property damage and destruction committed through arson), but the later statements read that the investigation is being carried out under part three of article 243 (breach of fire safety regulations resulting in (death of two or more persons) of the Criminal Code of Georgia.