Hundreds of guests at a Toronto hotel were forced to leave their rooms on Sunday morning, after an allegedly intoxicated man caused a "chain reaction" that led to flooding, a fire and property damage — all after he tampered with a fire hose, police say.
Toronto police first got a call at about 2 a.m., regarding a guest at a Holiday Inn at 970 Dixon Rd., near Pearson International Airport.
Staff Sgt. Ron Boyce told CBC News that a man allegedly "had been drinking" before he decided to tamper with a fire hose inside the hotel, causing water to flood some hotel hallways.
"This action on his behalf caused a chain reaction," Boyce said.
First, he said there was a malfunction in a third floor mechanical room, which caused a fire and a small explosion. This set off the sprinklers, which continued going and caused "extensive damage" to the hotel.
The hotel's general manager, Doug Loucks, told reporters that the initial fire hose tampering caused flooding in the hallways from the seventh floor down to the third floor.
The fire in the third floor room was extinguished by the sprinkler system, with that water then dripping through to the lower lobby.
"All of the damage was contained to the hallways," said Loucks.
In total, Loucks said guests from between 312 and 320 rooms were affected by the overnight incident and had to be relocated.
‘Adventurous start for our marriage’
Andrew Gurudata was at the hotel for the Constellation Awards, a sci-fi film and TV event taking place on Saturday night. He was in the hotel bar when guests got word of what was happening.
"All of a sudden, lights start flickering and alarms started going off. Everything is flashing, and we just were told that we need to leave the building right now," he told CBC News in an interview.
Sunny and Tessa Lagman were on their honeymoon. They woke up to alarms going off. They saw people running down the halls and decided they needed to make the trek down the stairwell from their room on the 11th floor.
"That’s an adventurous start for our marriage," Sunny Lagman said.
Tessa Lagman said she was glad that things didn’t turn out any worse.
"I think a lot of innocent people could have gotten hurt," she said.
Loucks said that none of the hotel guests were injured.
In more than a quarter-century in the business, Loucks said he'd never dealt with a similar situation.
Boyce said the accused is a 35-year-old Cambridge, Ont., man. He has been charged with mischief over $5,000.