Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Alcoholic started hotel fire, court told

WEDDING guests had to be evacuated from the La Mon House Hotel in Co Down after an alcoholic started two fires in her room, it was alleged in the High Court today.

WEDDING guests had to be evacuated from the La Mon House Hotel in Co Down after an alcoholic started two fires in her room, it was alleged in the High Court today.

The damage was estimated at £10,000 and the cost of the wedding reception may have to be borne by the hotel, said a barrister opposing a bail application by Lorraine Adams (41), who is accused of arson endangering life.

Crown counsel David Hopley said Adams, a businesswoman, from Glencroft Drive, Comber, Co Down, checked into the hotel on June 11 and next day the fire alarm went off.

The outbreak was traced to her room but staff got no response and had to use a master key to open the door which was barricaded with furniture.

A waste basket was on fire and was extinguished by staff.

Mr Hopley said Adams was lying on the bed with a bottle of Bacardi, glasses and coke on her bedside table.

She told the hotel manager she was trying to keep her husband out and must have thrown a cigarette into the waste basket.

"She apologised, offered to pay for the damage and arrangements were made to move her to another room," said Mr Hopley.

"About 20 minutes later she was found lying in the corridor outside her room where the bed was well alight with the flames three to four feet high. Staff again put out the fire.

"Mrs Adams was semi-conscious and apart from being drunk was suffering from smoke inhalation. Her alcohol level was five times over the legal driving limit."

Mr Hopley said there had been a similar incident at Adams' business premises at Bridge Street, Comber, in April and added: "This lady clearly has a serious alcohol problem and if there is another incident like this someone may lose their life."

Refusing bail, Lord Justice McCollum said: "I want to make it clear that I have nothing but sympathy for her and appreciate the concern of her husband and parents."

He added that proper arrangements should be made to treat her alcohol problem.

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