World Cup 2007 March 7, 2007

Pakistan and South Africa in hotel fire scare

Cricinfo staff

Inzamam-ul-Haq: unfazed © Getty Images

Pakistan and South African players have been evacuated from their hotel in Port of Spain, Trinidad, following what is believed to be a gas leak. Mohammad Sami, the Pakistan fast bowler, told how he ran down a corridor to escape from the building after saying he saw smoke in the hallway. At first it was thought there was a fire scare, but later reports suggested the problem was gas.

Four fire engines were at the scene but the hotel management later released a statement denying it had been a fire: "It wasn't a fire. Government agencies are investigating the incident and they will make an official announcement. The hotel is fully operational. Three staff members were taken to the hospital due to a burning sensation and they are back now."

Sami recalled: "I was on the sixth floor when a security man came to my room and asked me to vacate the hotel. I saw a lot of smoke coming out from the corridor so I ran down."

The two teams were among 150 people who had to file out of their Hilton hotel as they were having breakfast. Two more of the World Cup teams are staying at the hotel, Ireland and Canada, but the squads had left earlier for practice.

Pakistan captain Inzamam ul-Haq was unfazed by the evacuation, saying he had been told that the team had had to leave the hotel "as a precautionary measure".

The evacuees were all moved away to a safer location, but their plans to head to the beach were disrupted, as Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan allrounder revealed: "We were planning to go to the beach but we left our shorts in the room." Pakistan's media manager Pervez Mir confirmed: "The boys had a day off so they wanted to go to the beach, but this incident has altered their program." They were unable to make it in the end.

Afridi added: "I have no idea what happened. I had just woken up when the security man knocked on the door and said 'get out of the room'. But I went back to sleep. Then he knocked again, and said 'get out of the room'. Then I did and went downstairs."