A hotel is a commercial establishment that provides short-term, paid lodging with meals and other services for travelers and tourists. Or so we thought....

A hotel is a commercial establishment that provides short-term, paid lodging with meals and other services for travelers and tourists. Or so we thought.

Last Sunday night, a fire ripped through a hotel in Chesterfield. The fire sent four people to the hospital and displaced 34 occupants. Three of the four who went to the hospital were police officers who arrived before firefighters and attempted to notify occupants. Firefighters said smoke was banked down to the doorknob in the outside corridors.

Under normal circumstances, hotel occupants would be travelers with minimal possessions. However, today’s hotels have become another form of multi-family dwelling where families live as long as they can pay the weekly rate. Possibly all of those 34 displaced occupants were long-term residents of that hotel.

How has this come to be? Hotels are in the business of making money by filling rooms. In our county, I have seen a number of mobile home parks and a well known campground that were closed. Mobile home parks have been replaced with stores and apartment complexes. The campground that I mentioned now looks like the wilderness.

With all of these closings, people were left needing a place to live. Let’s think about a hotel for a moment. A hotel has most of the amenities of a home, just in a much smaller space, and requires no lease or insurance. Just about every hotel room has a microwave or a hot plate, a coffee maker and a small refrigerator. If a room is considered a suite, then the room is outfitted with a kitchenette.

What is there to burn in a hotel? Most hotels are constructed of wood, no matter what the exterior siding is made of. The older the motel, the less likely it will be fully protected by a full sprinkler system, although they will all have smoke alarms.

We can think about what causes fires in our homes, and the same possibilities exist in a hotel setting. Unattended cooking, electrical malfunctions, heating/AC malfunctions, candles, space heaters and improperly handled smoking materials can lead to a hotel fire. In some places, hotel rooms are used as clandestine drug labs.

This phenomenon has become a challenge for our families living in poverty or struggling with a low income to make ends meet. The challenge then extends to our society.

A group at the church that I pastor has been watching a video series about poverty. What I am seeing is that we are feeding the beast of entitlement instead of empowering people.

Now, 34 displaced persons may be in need of another place to live. Think about it.

No comments so far.

Be first to leave comment below.