Tourists visiting Cancun this weekend may have noticed heavy smoke throughout the tourist zone on Friday night.
On June 30, a fire broke out in the Krystal Hotel in Cancun’s tourist zone.
Firefighters and emergency responders from the state and municipality arrived to extinguish the fire.
According to media reports, the fire started due to a short circuit on a recently installed solar panel in the hotel. Videos on social media showed a large column of dark smoke covering Cancun’s hotel zone due to the fire.
Quintana Roo State Civilian Protection worked with local firefighters to ensure the safety of the hotel’s employees and nearly one thousand guests.
Tourists staying at the hotel were relocated to nearby hotels after the incident.
Fires in the Riviera Maya
Hotel fires happen on rare occasions in the Cancun tourist zone, but other areas of the Riviera Maya have had more issues, most notably in Holbox.
Holbox is an island north of Cancun that was once considered a lesser-known escape into nature.
Located in the Yum Balam Nature Reserve, Holbox is a great place to see the Mexican Caribbean’s diverse sea life, such as turtles and whale sharks.
Nevertheless, high tourism rates have pressured the small island’s limited resources, leading to blackouts and water shortages.
In November 2022, there was additional controversy around the state of tourism preparedness in Holbox after a fire burnt multiple hotels on the island.
The fire, likely the result of a gas tank explosion, exposed the lack of preparedness on the island, which did not even have a fire station at the time.
Around 100 tourists from the United States and Europe were staying in the two hotels. While nobody was hurt, many lost all of their belongings.
As in the recent Cancun fire, authorities promptly provided alternative accommodation in nearby hotels.
This was not the first incident of a hotel fire in Holbox that year. In July 2020, 80 tourists were evacuated by an electrical fire in the Amaite Hotel and Spa as helpful bystanders rushed to the scene to put out the flames.
There was also a hotel fire in Playa del Carmen in September last year. Local firefighters and paramedics arrived to stop the fire and rescue at least 6 people. Like the fire in Cancun, this hotel fire started due to an electrical issue. Although there was extensive property damage, there were no reports of life-threatening injuries.
Also, like the fire in Cancun, the Playa del Carmen fire started in the downtown of the city and was witnessed by tourists.
The fires in Cancun and Holbox caused extensive property damage and threatened the well-being of those affected, even if nobody was hurt.
Understanding the risks and mitigation strategies associated with fires can be life-saving for those affected. Raising awareness, promoting responsible behavior, and adopting preventative measures can be crucial to community and individual safety.
Fires can spread rapidly and unpredictably, so putting as much distance as possible between yourself and the flames is always best.
Nevertheless, one should not panic if they find themselves in a fire. Thinking clearly will allow you to make the right decisions for yourself and those around you.
As always, the most important thing anyone can do during an emergency is alert the authorities.
Most destinations in the Riviera Maya, including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum, have world-class response teams that can protect tourists and citizens in case of any emergency.
Once authorities have arrived at the scene, travelers should always follow instructions and allow them to do their jobs.
If there are any specific concerns, it is important to alert the authorities rather than take measures into your own hands.
While the chances that you experience a fire in the Riviera Maya are extremely low, it is important always to be prepared and calm in any emergency.
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