On the second day of our stay [Saturday, October 11] at a hotel in Mississauga, Ontario, there was an arson fire and criminal homicide in a room nearby our room on the second floor. We were in town to attend the 50th anniversary of our Canadian friends on Saturday, and then a Sunday brunch after they renewed their vows in a Catholic church that morning.
There were several items of concern that I had planned to mention in my hotel review, including how upon exiting the rear side door of the hotel on Saturday afternoon, which was apparently designated as a smoking area for guests and staff as the ground was littered with many cigarette filters, there was a wooden object used to keep the door ajar so a person entering did not need a key-card.
I noticed this same [or a similar] object had been used to keep what appeared to be a nearby storage unit door ajar when my wife and I first arrived on Friday. When we returned to the hotel at about 6.00 p.m. on Saturday, to rest then shower before meeting our friends, the side entrance door was not ajar and most of the cigarette butts had been picked up, but the wooden object was still next to the step.
FYI: I found this comment posted about this door on August 24: "Hotel is in need of a major update. Internet was so slow it would not work on most of the services I commonly use. The restaurant that used to serve a decent breakfast was disgusting. The entrance to the wing I was in had an overflowing garbage can when I arrived and still overflowing when I left. The side door has a 2 inch gap at the bottom so all manner of junk, leaves, dirt blows into the hallway."
To the best of my belief, hotels are responsible for providing and maintaining adequate standards of security for guests. In legal terms, that's a "duty of care" standard. That translates into making sure staff is trained, doors are secure and monitored; making sure that window and door locks work properly; and if a hotel is in a known dangerous location, management has a responsibility to warn guests.
Nevertheless, according to several media reports – An alleged prostitute who advertised online, was killed by one her clients while performing sex acts for money in the burned out room; and apparently this was the fifth murder in the region in the last twelve months.
"Homicide Insp. George Koekkoek told The News this morning the postmortem is taking "a little bit longer" due to the damage the fire caused on the woman's body. Koekkoek added that detectives have seized security footage from the area as they hunt for [the] killer. Police are looking into whether [the woman] was killed at the hotel. Staff there said she stayed there often." Mississauga News, By Louie Rosella
It may be important to you, for me to note here that no alarm sounded in our room, however, my wife heard an alarm sounding in the hallway and opened the door to see and smell smoke. We exited immediately and remained standing outside in the cold waiting for directions from the staff and watching the police, firefighters and ambulance arrive. The on-duty staff was nowhere to be seen or heard from; and it wasn’t until General Manager arrived – long after emergency personnel – that arrangements were finally made for a bus. The GM was professional and pleasant, but clearly overwhelmed and at times confused, or uninformed and or misinformed by investigators.
We had to remain on this bus until interviewed by the police, after which we were given a key card to another room on the second floor in which to spend Saturday night. When we entered the hotel, the second floor had an overpowering smell of smoke and an officer told us that it was a crime scene. We left and made our own arrangements to stay at a nearby hotel – unaware of any other option.
However, all of our personal items and toiletries were still in our original room, which was off of the hallway that was part of the crime scene; so the GM was either uninformed or misinformed. In any case, the purpose for our trip was ruined – and cannot obviously be repeated at a date in the future.
A civil litigation attorney from Mississauga, Ontario, recently advised us that because this is irreparable harm, we should file a claim. We asked the GM for [a] all our out of pocket expenses, [b] a refund of all Reward Points used on our trip, [c] the money we paid to stay at the other hotel, and [d] nominal compensation for the distress and inconveniences we both experienced as a result of the arson fire and homicide. The GM had already given us a refund [of our Reward Points] for Saturday night, and had offered us another room on the second floor [which was frankly ludicrous], but her response to the aforementioned claim request was very frustrating, to wit: "Sorry, not our fault. Sue us."
As my wife and I seriously doubted that the official corporate policy response of a hotelier “with ownership and management focused on a proven, market-sensitive strategy to acquire or build hotels that provide superior overnight accommodations in the mid-price market … that excels in offering services that exceed expectations” would be to invite a guest to sue one of their hotels, we asked the GM to kindly provide us with the name and contact information of the managing partner. The GM refused.
Possibly the wiser course of action would be for the GM to sit down and take a deep breath before making such a response, or taking the seriousness of our security concerns and emotion distress so lightly, just because few people have knowledge of the legal system nor know the basics on how to sue.
Clearly some reasonable action needs to be taken. How do we find out who the managing partner is?
SKB @ 239.775.8425
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