Most of the 42 people hospitalised were suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation but at least five people were badly burned , of whom at least one – a woman aged 55 – died in the hospital to which she had been urgently transferred. Many of the hospitalised came from upper floors because the smoke went up the lift shafts.
The origin of the blaze was traced to a 5th-floor corridor but its causes are still unknown. Several witnesses claim to have heard an explosion.
The fire at the hotel only two blocks down from the Obelisk (Av. Corrientes 818) raged for two hours from 4pm to almost 6pm before it could be brought under control as four fire engines and numerous ambulances rushed to the scene while police cordoned off the area.
The four-star hotel is reportedly especially popular among Brazilian tourists here on bargain shopping trips following last year’s devaluation. In the closing days of 2014 it was the scene of a scandal when 37 of its rooms were found to function as a VIP brothel.