San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Hotel fire kills five, owner flees from police

Hotel Las Águilas in Santiago de Puriscal burned to the ground early Friday morning killing five people.  The three surviving occupants, including the hotel manager, jumped out of a second story balcony to safety.

The cause of the fire remains undetermined, but investigators suspect it was related to the hotel’s dangerous electrical system.

Last December the Ministry of Health declared the hotel uninhabitable because of the old building’s aging wood construction.  The ministry gave the hotel owner, José Giovanni Quesada Quirós 20 days to vacate and the follow up inspection was set for Monday.

Lawyers from the Ministry of Health are looking at the case to establish the fault of the incident.  In addition to investigating the hotel owner, the ministry is also looking at the local government of Puriscal to determine possible negligence.

The fire also caused damage to surrounding stores.  The National Insurance Institute (INS, in Spanish) confirmed that there were no policies taken out on the hotel.

Contact Lindsay Fendt at

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