skip to main content

Rescue of people from an historical hotel on fire

Category: International Firefighting Team of the Year

Fire department: Hasičský záchranný sbor hlavního města Prahy (Prague, Czech Republic)

Operation: Rescue from hotel fire

The Hotel Eurostars David is a neo-renaissance edifice, built between 1882 and 1884. In 1993 the hotel was held as cultural “heritage building”. With 76 rooms and 180 beds it was located between Náplavní and Záhořanského Street in Prague.

A fire coming from the air-conditioning system has been reported on 20th January 2018 at 6:01 p.m. by the hotel receptionist. Duty officers were sent to the accident-location from three different fire stations. Despite the narrow street and the badly parked cars, it took only 5 minutes for the first unit to get to the accident site. 

Once arrived, it was clear to everyone that the fire was much bigger and more dangerous than expected. The smoke was spreading to all floors. Many guests were leaning-out from smoke-filled windows and many other were on the ledges. Huge flames were also coming from the reception. 

The Incident Commander ordered to rescue people in the higher floors with turntable ladders. The second rescue team rescued persons using the turntable ladders through the windows from the first floor. The third team searched and rescued persons inside the building. 

The situation was extremely chaotic: panicking guests were breaking windows, screaming from their rooms and throwing their luggage out of the windows. The commander called additional units: turntable ladder and rescue squads. 

Later on, firefighters found 12 people trying save their lifes on the ledges inside the courtyard of the building and 5 other guests who wanted to jump out of the windows from the 4th floor. Until this moment, nobody from hotel staff did report to the commander the number of guests. The Commander Officer arrived on the accident site and took over the lead. He declared a special degree of fire alarm because of the high number guests in life danger. 

The intervention was divided into two sectors. The entrance to the reception was burning together with the whole staircase and three floors. A rescue group used thermal imagining camera to search inside the hotel and went through the flames around the staircase (which were damaged and without railings). After this, other groups of firefighters arrived and searched the rooms (the smoke was in all rooms).


Rescue activities:

  • Firefighters rescued 10 people from inside of the hotel by using rescue-breathing apparatuses. Unfortunately, 6 out of 10 persons were unconscious.
  • Turntable ladders squads rescued 34 people.
  • Unconscious people were moved away from the hotel and resuscitated by EMT.
  • After one hour of resuscitation attempt, the doctor declared the death of two persons. During the night another person died. The second day died the fourth victim.
  • All rescued persons were gathered in some restaurant and were treated by ambulance service.
  • During the intervention, two firefighters were injured.


Elimination of fire:

  • The fire was localized 35 minutes after the first unit had come
  • All people were rescued before localization



  • 16 professional and voluntary firefighting units from all over Prague
  • 21 fire engines, 7 turntable ladders
  • 120 firefighters
  • 15.500 litres of water was used to extinguish the fire
  • 150 pieces of breathing equipment (air bottles) were exchanged


Damages caused by the fire:

  • Death of four people
  • Two injured firefighters
  • The total damage was around 1 Million Euros