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Palapa companies fined for failing to apply fire retardant

Playa del Carmen, Q.R. – Civil Protection has suspended the operation of two companies responsible for providing palapas to local businesses.

The suspension came within a few weeks of a large palapa fire at Iberostar Tucan. It’s been determined that the company who made the palapas for the hotel failed to apply fire retardant.

Jesus Puc Pat of Civil Protection said that it appears the hotel palapa caught fire from an extreme electrical overload of appliances. He explained that the hotel was negligent in how it managed the use of the electrical outlets and when the fire did break out, they did not have the origination to respond appropriately. He also added that the palapas were lacking fire retardant protection, which is mandatory.

This lack of fire retardant has raised a similar question in the recent restaurant fire at La Perla in central Playa del Carmen, which is currently being investigated.

“Deputy Lucio was the one who picked up a part of the unburned palapa (…) I cannot say at this time whether it had retardant, but we will know when we are finished testing it,” Pat said.

The use of fire retardant on palapas is mandatory. There have been nearly a dozen similar but smaller incidents around Playa del Carmen in recent weeks where palapas have caught fire. This has prompted Civil Protection to review businesses that have palapas installed on their structures, including establishments that have already been inspected by Civil Protection.

Puc Pat says that, “What we sometimes see is that once we have reviewed their internal workings and when inspectors leave, business owners modify some power lines which becomes a potential for accidents.”

Civil Protection noted that they have not yet determined if the business suspensions applied to the two palapa companies related to the Iberostar hotel will be lifted, but that they have made recommendations to five other palapa building companies to begin applying the retardant.

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