At least 15 people were taken to hospital with breathing difficulties after chlorine fumes spread through Hotel L’Empereur in central Maastricht late on Wednesday morning. A futher 20 people were treated on the spot for breathing trouble, nausea and eye irritations.
The fumes orginated in the hotel cellar where a barrel of chlorine is reported to have exploded. They quickly spread throughout the hotel – as well as a nearby restaurant and café, which were also evacuated. The road in front of the hotel was sealed off.
Eyewitnesses said the evacuation proceeded smoothly and there was no panic.
One report said the explosion may have occured after different chemicals had been mixed together. The hotel swimming pool – which is in the cellar – is currently undergoing repair work.
Chlorine, which dissolves in water and is a gas a room temperature, can be deadly in very high concentrations.
The hotel was also evacuated last Friday because of a fire in the kitchen. Then, 98 people were forced to leave the building because of the smoke.
Hotel L’Empereur is a listed building and part of the Amrâth hotel group. It has 150 rooms and suites which cost up to €154 a night.
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