Pakistan and South African players in fire scare

Published: Thursday, March 8, 2007, 18:10 [IST]
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Port of Spain (T&T):Pakistan and South African players were involved in what is believed to be a fire scare and had to file out of their Hilton hotel here early Wednesday as they were having breakfast.

Irish and Canadian players however were not among those who had to leave the premises, having already left for practice. Four fire engines were at the scene but the hotel management later released a statement denying it had been a fire.

"It wasn't a fire," read the statement.

"Government agencies are investigating the incident and they will make an official announcement.

"The hotel is fully operational. Three staff members were taken to the hospital due to a burning sensation and they are back now."

Later local radio reported official government sources confirming it hadn't been a fire but instead a gas leak.

Pakistan paceman Mohammad Sami told AFP he had seen a lot of smoke when evacuating the hotel.

"I was on the sixth floor when a security man came to my room and asked me to vacate the hotel," he said. "I saw a lot of smoke coming out from the corridor so I ran down."

Pakistan captain Inzamam ul-Haq was unfazed by the evacuation, saying he had been told that the team had had to leave the hotel "as a precautionary measure."

Around 150 people were evacuated from the hotel and moved away to a safer location.

Later Pakistan allrounder Shahid Afridi said: "I was in my room when security staff came and told me that as a precautionary measure we had to vacate the rooms and go out. I did not see any fire but we came down and waited and have been waiting since then."

And then he added in lighthearted fashion: "We were planning to go to the beach but we left our shorts in the room."

Pakistan media manager and former international Pervez Mir said: "It's unfortunate that such an incident has happened.

"The boys had a day off so they wanted to go to the beach, but this incident has altered their program but hopefully once things clear up, the boys will definitely have time to chill out."

The Pakistanis later cancelled plans to go to the beach, though, all guests and players from the respective teams were allowed to return to their rooms apart from on the eighth floor where the incident is believed to have taken place.


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