Miami Beach hotel remains shut down after electrical fire

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A day after a Miami Beach hotel caught fire, some hotel guests continue to struggle in finding new accommodations, Wednesday.

Those stranded guests planned to stay at Deauville Beach Resort, located along Collins Avenue at 67th Street, before the building was evacuated and shut down due to an electrical fire.

Hotel staff said they brought a large generator inside in hopes of getting the lights back on, but they don’t have a permit to use that generator. As of now, the lights are off, and no one is allowed inside the hotel.

Nearby business were also affected by the power outage and remain closed.

Miami Beach City officials said in statement, “According to their Building Department, the Deauville hotel has an unsafe structure violation that will need to be corrected before any occupancy can be allowed.”

Officials said an electrical contractor will need to pull a permit obtaining all necessary inspections and apply for re-occupancy.

Melissa Meruelo, the general manager at the hotel, said close to 800 people were relocated. “We own another property on Collins and 51st and one on Sixth, so we check to see what’s available. It’s been close to 800 people that we had to relocate.”

The Deauville is losing more than guests, however. The 16th Annual Miami Salsa Congress was previously scheduled at the resort to take place on Friday night, but event organizers said they are doubtful.

Miami Salsa Congress producer Rene Gueits said, “I’ve lost more hair than I have. I got a call from Paris. The lady was flying over for the event, so she said ‘Is it canceled?’ I said ‘No, it’s not canceled. Salsa never stops in Miami.’ We’ve done it there for three years, but I just can’t wait. I can’t wait for any news – good news or bad news, so we just have to move.”

Fire investigators told 7News that it may be weeks before the building becomes operational again.

The hotel’s general manager remains hopeful and said the goal is to have the necessary inspections done ahead of Friday, get the dance floor installed and welcome the three-night international dance party.

Fire rescue crews responded to the hotel at around 2:30 a.m., Tuesday, where they were greeted to heavy smoke lingering in and around the building. Miami Beach Fire Rescue Capt. Jorge Linares said the automatic sprinkler system was able to put out the fire before rescue crews arrived.

“When we got here, there was a lot of smoke. We cleared out the smoke and turned off power to the building,” he said.

Nearby buildings have also been affected by the fire, posting signs saying they are closed due to their electricity being shut off.

“I’m seeing everybody’s faces worried,” said hotel guest Hotel Martinez. “Yeah, it kinda got me.”

The cause was found to be malfunctioning wiring connected to a chiller, which was rented to help keep the building cool, according to fire investigators.

City officials claim the hotel was hit with a violation on July 19 for installing the chiller without the proper permit. The hotel was told to stop using the chiller until they got approval, which they did not.

Several inspections will continue to take place before a decision is made on whether or not the hotel will reopen.

 

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