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Major fire breaks out at revamped Ritz hotel in Paris

© Lionel Bonaventure, AFP | Firefighters work on extinguishing a fire at the Ritz Hotel in Paris on January 19, 2016

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-01-20

A major fire broke out on the last floor of the Ritz in Paris on Tuesday morning, two months before the luxury hotel was due to re-open after more than three years of renovation work.

The blaze burned uncontrollably for several hours before fire fighters were able to contain it mid-morning.

“The fire is under control, there’s no more risk of it spreading, but the operation will be ongoing for awhile,” Yvon Bot, a spokesman for the Paris fire department, told Reuters.

The blaze was reported at around 6am (05:00 GMT) on the last floor of the Ritz, which has been closed for renovation since August 1, 2012. The hotel was due to open its doors to the public again in March.

Around 150 workers were evacuated from the area, but there were no casualties, according to the Paris fire department. The cause of the fire was not yet known.

The Ritz first opened in Paris in 1898, and was the first hotel in the French capital to boast electricity on all its floors, as well as bathrooms inside the rooms. It later became famed as a favourite stomping ground of the likes of Coco Chanel, Marcel Proust and Earnest Hemingway.

In 1979, the hotel was bought by Egyptian business magnate Mohamed Al-Fayed, who spent the next decade renovating it. It was at the Ritz that Diana, Princess of Wales, spent her last night with Al-Fayed’s son, Dodi, before dying in a tragic car crash at the Pont d’Alma.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

Date created : 2016-01-19

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