AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Fire in the Hostel

Well that was an interesting experience! At 11:45pm we were getting ready for bed when we heard door’s banging and feet running in the hallway. At first we assumed someone had got too drunk and was banging around the hostel but we both had a bad feeling about it. We started getting dressed in anticipation of a banging on our door. Sure enough our door was knocked on.

We opened it and looked out. The hallway was filled with smoke. Great! A fire! We quickly got finished getting dressed and grabbed money and passports. Then we left. The fire escape was filled with smoke but we went down a floor. Below there the fire escape was pitch black. Annemarie went a floor down and found the escape was locked. Argh!

Back upstairs people were filling the hallway heading for the main exit. Then they all turned and headed for the fire escape. With about 50 people stuck in the fire escape someone came and unlocked it. Outside there were already three fire engines and plenty of police. The market under the hostel had been on fire, now it was just smouldering plastic. It had probably been on fire for quite a while!

The hostel has no fire alarms, or smoke alarms. No emergency lighting. And best of all, the fire escape actually goes down into the market hall below and out the back, WHERE THE FIRE WAS! People in the UK complain about health and safety but this is why we have so many rules. In Asia human life is cheap and no-one gives a damn about safety.

Luckily, someone ran through the hostel banging on all the doors. If this was serious would they have risked their lives? If the fire escape wasn’t unlocked the only other way out is down the lift at the front of the building. A slightly unnerving thought!

Posted from Chengdu, Sichuan, China.

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