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Fire alarms cause commotion at Sweden’s ICEHOTEL

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18 November 2013 by David Ward

Sweden's ICEHOTEL, located in the small Artic town of Jukkasjarvi in the far north of the country, has welcomed guests through its frozen doors since 1990. For the first time this year however, in what appears to be a case of health and safety overkill, local authorities have insisted on fire alarms being fitted inside the building, despite it being made entirely out of ice farmed from the nearby Torne River.

ICEHOTEL's impressively diplomatic spokeswoman Beatrice Karlsson said: "We were a little surprised at first, but the reason is that there are things than can actually catch fire, like pillows, sleeping bags or reindeer skins".

The hotel, which maintains a constant temperature of between -5C and -8C includes an ice bar, ice beds and a series of spectacular ice sculptures, is in its 24th year and has to reapply for building permits annually, with any changes being strictly adhered to.

The addition of fire alarms, while adding a seemingly important additional safety blanket for guests, has made the building of the IceHotel, which opens in December and stays open until the warmer weather returns in April, even more complicated than usual.

"The environment is humid", said Ms Karlsson, "and ice and snow move, so it has to be taken into account. It's been a challenge for our building team, but it made us one experience richer ".

According to Ms Karlsson, there have been "no incidents so far" and the alarm system has only been called into action once, "but when the supervisor came down it turned out it was just one of our guests who'd snuck off to the cleaning closet and had a cigarette".

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