27 Nov 2017 10:58

National mourning declared in Georgia for victims of Batumi hotel fire

TBILISI. Nov 27 (Interfax) - The Georgian government on Monday declared a day of mourning for the 11 victims of the fired that occurred in the five-star hotel Leo Grand in Batumi on November 24.

Flags are flying at half-mast at all state establishments, an Interfax correspondent has reported.

Erol Avgoren, the owner of the hotel, told reporters in Batumi on Monday that the Leo Grand meets safety requirements.

"We are ready to cooperate with the Georgian authorities to determine the cause of the fire. I offer my deepest condolences to the victims' families," Avgoren said.

The fire in the 22-story Leo Grand began around 8:00 p.m. on November 24 and lasted several hours. Official Georgian sources said all 11 victims died of suffocation.

According to the victims' relatives, eight of the 11 victims suffocated in an elevator that stopped on one of the floors after an emergency blackout.

An investigation into "violations of fire-safety regulations resulting in the death of two or more people" is under way.