Ceiling collapse hotel had previous safety fears

Clubbers were evacuated from GHQ after the false ceiling collapsed in the Fiddler's Elbow
Clubbers were evacuated from GHQ after the false ceiling collapsed in the Fiddler's Elbow
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A HOTEL that suffered a ceiling collapse forcing guests and nightclub-goers to flee the building at the weekend had shut its doors last year over safety fears, it emerged today.

Fire crews and specialist search teams were scrambled to the Fiddler’s Elbow at 2.20am on Sunday amid fears revellers had become trapped when a false ceiling at the Picardy Place venue crashed to the ground.

No-one was hurt in the drama – which triggered fire alarms at GHQ nightclub situated at basement level – but it has sparked calls for a full investigation into the integrity of the property after building standards officials previously called into question its structural adequacy last February.

Then, the “shabby chic” hotel and bar saw its alcohol licence suspended after a main beam supporting the first-floor function room fractured causing the floor to dip by several inches. The pub’s operator – G1 Group – voluntarily agreed to close until it could prove the premises were made safe. It is understood the Fiddler’s Elbow re-opened around a month later.

Today, City Centre Conservative ward councillor Joanna Mowat called for a probe into the premises’ safety.

She said: “Given the previous issue with building

standards there will have to be a full investigation to make sure the building is safe. This should be referred to the relevant authorities.”

A major emergency operation was launched in the early hours of Sunday morning that saw the street cordoned off.

The incident set off fire alarms which alerted hotel guests and clubbers at the venue, GHQ, to the danger.

Five fire crews attended the collapse including two specialist urban search and rescue teams tasked with scouring the premises for people trapped in debris.

Ambulance crews were also in attendance, including a

special operations response team but there were no casualties reported.

A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue team said: “It was quickly established that everyone was accounted for.”

“A first floor ceiling had collapsed on to the ground floor. Five pumps were in attendance and a further two special urban search and rescue teams were deployed into the collapsed area. A building control officer from the council was there and ScottishPower and Scottish Gas were requested by the fire service. The building was left safe and no casualties were recorded.”

A police spokesman said: “The collapse triggered the fire alarm and alerted the people inside, they were outside before the emergency services arrived.”

No one from the Fiddler’s Elbow and its parent company G1 Group were available to comment on the incident.