- Fire shuts down central Paris streets during rush hour
- Two suites plus part of roof damaged in fire, spokesman says
A fire broke out on the seventh floor of the luxury Ritz hotel, which is under renovation, forcing several major streets to be shut in central Paris during the morning rush hour.
The fire was extinguished, though some insulation was still smoldering, Captain Yvon Bot of the Paris fire department said at midday. No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire wasn’t immediately known, he said. Two suites totaling 400 square meters (4,306 square feet) were damaged, along with 700 square meters of roof, Bot said on the street a block from the hotel.
The iconic hotel on Place Vendome, which opened in 1897 and has hosted visitors including Ernest Hemingway and Coco Chanel, has been shut for an overhaul since August 2012 and was due to re-open before the summer. The hotel is owned by Egyptian businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed and had 142 rooms at the time of its closing. French construction company Bouygues SA is handling the renovations.
The fire began at about 6 a.m. and there were 60 firefighters and 15 vehicles on the scene. A big plume of smoke rose from the hotel, and firefighters poured fire retardant into the building from three cranes. The fire was in the rear of the hotel, on rue Cambon.
The Ritz is taking reservations on its website for stays beginning March 20, with rooms starting at 1,100 euros ($1,195) a night.