Marlborough Hotel guests have heat again after broken boiler fixed

Dozens of guests at the Marlborough Hotel have heat again after the boiler system broke down on Friday.

Staff were handing out electric blankets and heaters before boiler system started working again on Sunday

By Sunday evening, the boiler system at Winnipeg's Marlborough Hotel was up and running again. (CBC)

Dozens of guests at the Marlborough Hotel have heat again after the boiler system broke down on Friday.

Many used blankets and heaters to try to keep warm before the heat came back on, and several families filled the hotel lobby Sunday afternoon in their winter coats. A number of them were not able to sleep the night before, spending it huddled together to stay warm.

Guests at the hotel — many of whom are in Winnipeg from out of town for medical treatment — said the chill in the building lasted two days, and the conditions made it difficult for those in the hotel who are in-between surgeries.

Dean Garioch, from Cross Lake, Man., said he had surgery Saturday night and medical services put him in the Marlborough Hotel afterward.

He is headed home Sunday, but Saturday night was hard on him and his companion.

"I just found it difficult. I couldn't do anything," he said. "Just tried to be patient."

Karmen Omeasoo lives in Winnipeg and has some family staying at the hotel.

Omeasoo said there were no warnings to guests and the hotel continued to take bookings despite not having the heat up and running.

The way that they treated my family here was horrible.- Carmen Omeasoo

"For me, it's just horrible because these people are away from their homes, they're away from their element," he said. "I'd hate for me to bring my whole family out to Ontario or something and then the hotel has no heat. Like, what are you going to do about it?"

Omeasoo said while simply leaving the hotel is an option for some people, relocating would have been a challenge for large families.

"People can easily say, 'Well you know, go get another room.' It's not that easy in this day and age — especially with 10 people," he said. "The way that they treated my family here was horrible. It's not about race. It's just, have some compassion."

Marie Leola-Dumas, a band member of Manitoba's Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, has stayed at the hotel several times over the last five years while receiving different medical treatments in Winnipeg hospitals. She arrived at the hotel Sunday morning and was surprised to find how cold the building was.

"It was terrible," she said on Sunday afternoon. "I'm a little cold still."

Leola-Dumas said that despite problems with the building's heat, she values the hotel and its service.

Hotel staff said about 70 guests were affected before the boiler started running again on Sunday evening.

Calls to hotel management were not returned.


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