Prankster causes evacuation at hot New Plymouth night spot
Patrons were evacuated from a popular Taranaki night spot after a prankster set off a fire alarm in the toilets.
The New Plymouth fire brigade was called to the Snug Lounge, which opened in 2011 as part of the multimillion-dollar redevelopment of the White Hart Hotel in the city's CBD, at 11.48pm on Friday.
Patrons from the bar, which is connected to pizza and craft beer restaurant Ms White's and King and Queen Hotel Suits, had to leave while firefighters, who were on site for about 10 minutes, investigated what caused the alarm to go off.
After the commotion the bar's owners took to Facebook in an attempt to identify the culprits.
"It's disappointing to have to approach social media on this basis however on Friday night someone thought it humorous to set off the fire alarm in the bathrooms at Snug Lounge," the post said.
It appealed for anyone with information about the offender to come forward and set out the costs it expected to face.
"This ignorance has cost us significantly with call out fees for the Fire Brigade ($1000), security call-outs across neighbouring properties, unpaid tabs and the cost of repairs to the broken alarm."
However co-owner Gina Bryant said most people had returned to settle their bills and explained the establishment usually took credit card details before opening tabs for large groups anyway.
Pat Fitzell, Fire and Emergency New Zealand Taranaki area manager, said while the organisation did have the authority to bill companies who had ongoing problems with malfunctioning alarms they wouldn't be in this case.
"It appears to be a malicious false alarm, certainly for a case like that we won't be charging them," Fitzell said.
"You can't blame the property owners for something that's out of their control."
He said if the culprit was caught they could be charged for the callout.
Bryant was relieved to hear the fire brigade wouldn't be charging for the callout.
King and Queen Hotel Suits general manager Daniel Fleming said only a few hotel guests were evacuated.
"Only one of our blocks is actually connected to that [area] so it wasn't the main part of our hotel, it was only the left wing," Fleming said.
"We certainly treat the safety of our guests as our main priority."
The alarm had only forced the evacuation of four or five guests and everybody had been really good about it, he said.
"It wasn't a big disruption to us at all.
"They were all really good about it, in fact quite a few of them found it a bit exciting."
Fleming said it was a shame that someone had done something silly to cause the commotion.