…regulations for scrutiny of hotel standards being reviewedWith a fire disaster being recently averted at the Pegasus Hotel, the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) has stepped in to determine what exactly happened on that fateful night, when emergency exits were reportedly sealed and smoke alarms were reportedly dysfunctional.The scene at the Pegasus Hotel after the fire was avertedDirector of the GTA, Brian Mullis, in an interview with this publication on Tuesday, declared that that agency has now become actively involved in the issue because the Pegasus Hotel had never previously been flagged for safety violations.“One of the agencies that we depend on is the Fire Department (GFS). So any operator or hotelier, before they can be licensed by the GTA, has to (pass through) the Fire Department. So that falls, to some extent, out of our purview, though safety is within our regulation as well. So our input will be to understand the situation,” he explained.“We’ve reached out to Pegasus proactively when we heard about the situation. (We want) to come in and understand the situation first hand, because we have heard at least two sides to the story. So we want to understand to what extent safety and security considerations are in place now,” Mullis explained.GTA Director Brian MullisAccording to Mullis, the GTA wants to work with the Pegasus hotel to ensure that its safety standards are effective. When it comes to scrutiny of hotels in general, Mullis revealed, work is ongoing to review the regulations.“We are in the process of updating our regulations relating to different subsectors. Currently, we regulated interior hotels; other hotels would fall under the coastal Georgetown city municipality-based hotels, tour operators and guides. We’re updating those regulations so that they reflect best practice in 2018 and into the future. So we’ll be working with hoteliers like Pegasus to get them up to those higher standards as well.”A statement from the Pegasus Hotel has declared that the fire was extinguished by staff themselves, and that the smoke alarm in the kitchen did go off. According to the statement, guests were evacuated “out of an abundance of caution…”“We understand the anxieties of our guests, who were inconvenienced. We are pleased that all guests were returned to their rooms within a short period of time, and that there were no injuries or any need for relocation to another property or alternative accommodation,” the hotel stated in a release on Tuesday evening.US State DeptOn Monday, the United States State Department issued an alert on the Pegasus Hotel. The alert came hours after a fire was averted at the hotel on Sunday night. However, the State Department has announced that US Government personnel staying at the hotel have decided to move to other locations.On Sunday evening, guests at the Pegasus Hotel had to be treated for smoke inhalation after a fire broke out in the kitchen area of the hotel at about 22:45h. The Guyana Fire Service (GFS) was summoned to the scene; and upon arrival, the fire fighters were able to contain the fire to one area.When Guyana Times arrived on scene, GFS Station Officer with responsibility for fire prevention, Andrew Holder, told the media that the fire started as a result of a ‘deep-fry’ accidently or deliberately being left on. This, he noted, caused the appliance to overheat, and it eventually ignited the installation for the extractor.This created a smoke-logged environment, but fire fighters were able to quickly put out the fire and create some form of ventilation. All efforts were made to ensure that everyone was out of the building. Holder noted that smoke would have reached at least the second and third floods, thus causing some panic among the guests who were staying at the hotel.The fire official noted that there were several safety breaches at the hotel. He said the emergency exit doors were chained and padlocked, there was no fire alarm, and staff was not trained to deal with such an occurrence.“This is a serious breach of safety, and it has severe consequences,” Holder had added.Guest at the hotel expressed shock that there was no fire alarm. One guest recalled that he went to the emergency exit after his room was consumed by smoke, only to discover it locked.