Tennis Stars Evacuated From Deadly Fire
May. 01, 2004
ROME (AP) _ Three people were killed and Andy Roddick, Marat Safin and several other tennis players were evacuated after a fire broke out at a luxury hotel early Saturday morning.
Two Canadian guests died in their room and an American jumped from his window and died.
No players were injured, ATP Tour spokesman Nicola Arzani said. The players were staying in the five-star Parco dei Principi hotel while competing at the Italian Open, which begins Monday.
Arzani said the players were evacuated at about 5 a.m. and stood outside for several hours until they were taken to the nearby Austrian Embassy. They were later allowed back to the hotel to retrieve belongings.
Severak players had their rackets and other equipment damaged, and were forced to reschedule their practices.
``A lot of people lost equipment,'' Arzani said. ``Safin lost a lot, he couldn't practice today.''
Arzani said he didn't know how many players were staying at the hotel since some were still arriving from other tournaments.
In addition to the second-ranked Roddick and the Russian star Safin, Mariano Zabaleta of Argentina and Max Mirnyi of Belarus were also evacuated.
Mirnyi was seen outside the hotel following the evacuation, covering himself with a blanket while wearing only shorts.
The American who died was identified as James Lawery, from Georgia. The Canadian couple's names were Bernice Mary Joan Busque and Paul Emile Busque, and their hometowns were not known.
The blaze spread to other rooms on the floor and smoke billowed throughout the hotel, forcing the guests to evacuate.
Police questioned two Americans, who have spoken with a U.S. consular official, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said.