Five people have been hospitalised with minor injuries after a fire destroyed 16 water villas at the Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi resort in North Male’ atoll this morning, local authorities have confirmed.
A police media official confirmed one Brazilian and three Chinese tourists had been taken to Male’ for treatment for injuries sustained during the resort blaze. One Maldivian member of staff was taken to hospital on the island of Thulusdhoo, police said.
The media official confirmed that a special police investigation team including forensic officers were today assessing damage at the resort, though no further details were given on the possible cause of the blaze at time of press.
Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) Spokesperson Major Hussain Ali said fire fighters were informed of the blaze at 4:40am today.
Major Hussain said the fire was brought under control a few hours later at 6:50am, with the MNDF expected to provide technical assistance to police officers investigating the blaze. He said a total of 17 rooms were severely damaged.
Mohamed Mahdy, General Manager of Administration for Adaaran, said the Hudhuranfushi Select resort remained open to guests, with its beach villas and other properties unaffected by the fire.
The spokesperson added that an investigation into the incident was already underway for insurance purposes.
Upon discovery of the fire, Mahdy said staff realised they did not have the capacity to deal with the blaze and called in MNDF firefighters.
Subsequent to publication, Mahdy clarified that the resort had three water pumps on site, and that staff had brought the fire under control as MNDF firefighters arrived.
He added that the design of the water villas, particularly roofs covered in thatched material, had meant the fire spread quickly, but efforts were still successful in preventing further spread to other areas on the resort.
Mahdy said the company continued to operate its properties in full compliance with local regulations and would not be reviewing fire safety on the site.
Mahdy confirmed that resort’s water villas were not fitted with smoke alarms, explaining that the properties were “very different to city hotels”.
However, he said staff had woken up and evacuated all guests once the fire was discovered.
He said Adaaran had contracted local authorities to undertake fire safety training with staff at the resort.
Water villas – stilted structures that sit above the sea – have become synonymous with high-end resort properties in the Maldives and are offered as premium category accommodation by both local and multi-national hospitality groups in the country.
Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi is the second of the country’s more than 100 exclusive island resort properties to have experienced a fire over the last three days, with local media reporting that five people had been hospitalised with minor injuries following a blaze at the Robinson Club resort in Gaafu Alifu Atoll.
Sun Online reported Friday (July 19) that three Maldivians and two foreigners were injured by an explosion that occurred in a staff store area on the property.
Four of those injured by the fire were reportedly admitted to hospital with burns on different parts of their body.
MNDF officials meanwhile speculated that the fire was likely the result of an electrical malfunction, according to Sun.
Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb could not be reached for comment at time of press.
Clarification: General Manager of Administration for the Adaaran resort, Mohamed Mahdy, subsequent to publication of this article informed Minivan News that the resort had three water pumps on site, and that staff had brought the fire under control as MNDF firefighters arrived.