South Sudan Hotel in Juba burns down


(Posted 04th October 2013)

Another devastating fire swept through the South Sudan Hotel in Juba, South Sudan’s capital city, this time destroying over 30 rooms and parts of other hotel facilities like the dining room.

According to a lamenting owner he had left the building for some outside errands and left electricians ‘repairing’ faulty wiring, thought to have previously caused fires, only to be told later on that very likely as the result of the work the wires caused a fire which spread rapidly across the upper part of the hotel.

The problem in Juba is that there are no building regulations which would require a hotel to use flame retardant materials, have sprinkler and smoke detectors, so it is an individual as well as a system failure. We had hotel fires before and I think overall they are lucky to lose only equipment and guest belongings and not lives’ wrote a regular source from Juba when sending in the information overnight. He then added: ‘The other problem is contractor quality which is often not very good. There is little formal training like apprentice schemes or vocational training for such jobs and therefore you cannot expect them to perform on the same level like in Nairobi or Kampala’.

Guests who lost their property to the fire also reportedly complained that those who managed to salvage some clothes or bags to thieves who had disguised themselves as good Samaritans.

Another source blamed the lack of equipment by the fire brigade in Juba, which he said lacked trucks, were ill prepared with no water in the tank and generally suffered of lack of infrastructure like hydrants they could use to fight fires. Fire fighters from the UN contingent in Juba eventually managed to put the flames out but not before enough damage was caused to have the hotel close down possible for several weeks if not months. It is understood that an investigation is underway but it is anyone’s guess how the cause of the fire can be determined in the absence of forensic experts and the logistics required to pinpoint the location where the blaze started.

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