Guests evacuated after gas leak at hotel

Last updated 07:14 03/07/2014

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More than 90 guests were evacuated from the Rutherford Hotel in Nelson in the middle of the night because of a gas leak.

Emergency services were called to the hotel in Nile St East at 11.30pm. Nelson Fire Service station officer Grahame Kurth said a smoke-like product was leaking on the first floor by the gym.

They were initially unable to identify it but traced it to a bank of freezers.  Because they were getting a high reading on a gas detection system they decided the evacuation was needed.

The guests were evacuated for more than an hour and taken by the hotel manager to another nearby premises.

The refrigerant gas was turned off and it cleared through the hotel’s ventilation system.  A refrigeration engineer was called in to fix the leak.

The gas in sufficient volume could cause breathing problems and shut down body systems, he said.

‘‘We did not have an exceptionally high reading but it was up to the mark where we had to do something about it,’’ said Kurth.

Firefighters dealing with the gas leak wore protective chemical suits and were decontaminated in showers afterwards.

Fire crews from Stoke and Richmond, as well as police and ambulance, were also called in to deal with the emergency.

Some guests were at the hotel for a Community Housing Aotearoa conference being held there today.

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- The Nelson Mail

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