A DRAMATIC blaze which forced nearly 100 guests to flee their rooms in the middle of the night was started deliberately, police in Marbella have said.
Guests at the Sisu Hotel scrambled to escape by climbing out of windows as flames engulfed the upmarket resort of Puerto Banus on August 21.
Ten people were left injured and one Frenchman, aged 30, died in the fire.
Following months of investigation, police have revealed to The Court of Instruction that the blaze was started on purpose.
Two hydrants inside the building had been manipulated and there were deficiencies in the compartmentalization systems, investigators said.
The police believe there were possible motives behind the arson attack, the first being a settling of scores.
A group of French citizens filling several bottles with gasoline the same night of the fire at a nearby gas station but cops are also looking into the theory that the blaze was started in order to claim insurance on the damaged building.
The police added that they found it striking that the tenant had not paid the rent for years but did pay the insurance on time.
According to the judicial file, one of the hotel’s tenants was previously arrested in 2011 for illegal detention, robbery with violence and intimidation and assault after allegedly beating a Marbella businessman over a supposed debt.
One tourist told The Olive Press at the time: “No one had tried to evacuate us before we woke up at around 6am, we were still in our room and woke up after the fire engines arrived, so the fire must have started at around 5am.”
The man, who wished to remain anonymous, said it was difficult to find a route out the building as there was too much smoke.
“It was impossible to breathe, I thought we were going to die,” he added, “We are lucky to be alive.”
The rescue mission for firefighters was made extra difficult due to the web-like cladding which surrounds the hotel.
“The firefighters could see some people in their rooms but could do nothing as they could not reach them,” the tourist said.
“I had to break through the wood for the fireman to get to me.”
Last month the Olive Press reported last month how a hen party was allegedly reassured their booking at Sisu Hotel would go ahead, despite the business lying derelict and destroyed for almost one year.
The Sisu Boutique Hotel in Spain burned down in August last year just days after hen Victoria Tompkins accepted vouchers worth €1,200.
Owners of the TOWIE haunt, loved by Mark Wright and Michelle Keegan, then tried to argue that Victoria couldn’t claim a refund on her vouchers because she has ‘no evidence’ that the hotel gutted by the fire has even been closed.
Thankfully her credit card issued her with a full refund after Sisu was unable to support claims that the resort would be open for business by July.
The second bridal party contacted us after seeing the article amid concerns over their own booking worth nearly £4000 at the swanky Marbella hotel.
Bridesmaid Chloe Farr said she had organised for her sister Amber and 13 of their friends to celebrate her upcoming nuptials at the resort in June last year.
The pals paid £2353 for their hotel stay and £1501 for the pool party but were forced to amend their booking due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Chloe, from Tredegar in South Wales, claims staff from the hotel told her not to worry and that their stay had been pushed back to June 2021.
However, Chloe believes the party is entitled to the cash back, as the shell of the hotel has been lying completely empty for almost 12 months.
She said: “I phoned them up and asked them if they were open this summer and they said as long as government restrictions are lifted they will be.
“If they are still shut come June our credit card company day we can request a chargeback. I can’t believe Hotel List is still saying they are opening next month.”