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Explosion At The Historic Hotel Saratoga In Cuba Kills At Least 18 People
On May 6, there was a massive explosion at the Hotel Saratoga in Havana, which killed at least 18 people and injured 64. These figures may increase as search and rescue teams continue to sort through the rubble.
The Cuban Presidential Office indicated that the explosion wasn’t an act of terrorism, as has been the case at other Cuban hotels in the past. It stemmed from a gas leak.
President Miguel Diaz-Canel surveyed the destruction. CNN reported that “pieces of metal awnings, balconies and large chunks of stone were scattered about 300 feet away from the hotel.”
Spectators posted footage of smoke and dust billowing from the debris on social media. Residents and employees from surrounding buildings had to temporarily relocate. Some students at Concepción Arenal School were wounded after several windows were shattered due to the blast.
The New York Times quoted resident Miriam Díaz, who was en-route home on a bus. “There was a stink, like a chemical, that burned your nose,” she said. “We couldn’t get out because the door wouldn’t open.”
Officials said that Hotel Saratoga was undergoing renovations. The neo-classical accommodation was originally a warehouse before it became a five-star hotel. It closed for two years due to COVID, and when the explosion happened, it hadn’t re-opened to guests yet.
There have been calls for blood donations for victims in the hospital, and investigations into the cause of the gas leak are pending.