PHOTO: Montego Bay, Jamaica. (photo via Flickr/Jeremy T. Hetzel)
One employee was killed and four others injured in an explosion in Riu Reggae Hotel in Montego Bay Jamaica. The blast occurred Thursday afternoon as five members of the hotel’s maintenance team worked in a hotel boiler room. No hotel guests were impacted by the explosion.
“Yesterday afternoon an accident occurred in the hotel Riu Reggae, Montego Bay, when some workers were performing maintenance tasks,” said a company official in a statement. “Unfortunately, one of our colleagues has perished, and four others were injured.
“They are truly beloved colleagues and all of the Riu team is extremely saddened and moved by the incident. Our hearts are with their families and we hope that those injured, now admitted in different hospitals in Jamaica, will recover very soon.”
The hotel remains closed with guests relocated to other Riu properties in Jamaica said the spokeswoman. Officials “collaborated with the local authorities to care for the injured workers and to start the investigation,” following the explosion.
“The causes of the incident remain unknown at the moment,” the spokeswoman said. “The Riu management team [and] security and technical service department have been mobilized and are currently investigating the accident [to determine] if security protocols were followed correctly.”
The property remains closed as a precautionary measure “following the instructions of the St James Fire Department,” said the spokeswoman. “Riu is currently working in order to reopen the hotel as soon as possible with no risks for workers and guests,” she added.
Two of the injured employees are reportedly in critical condition. In a statement expressing “deep regret,” Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s tourism minister, identified the dead worker as Sederhori McIntosh, a Riu maintenance manager.
Bartlett said the explosion occurred in a boiler pump at the property. “I am deeply saddened about the unfortunate accident that occurred at the Hotel Riu Reggae, which resulted in several injuries and the loss of a life. I offer my sincere condolences to the staff of the hotel as they cope with the aftermath of this tragic incident,” said Bartlett.
“The Ministry of Tourism will continue to monitor the situation and will be working closely with the hotel to ensure that the grieving families receive the necessary support during this difficult time.” The adults-only hotel, one of several Riu properties in Jamaica, opened in November of 2016.