A falling ceiling panel causes concern at Hotel Forestel

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image-3When Ancita Bugden checked into Val d’Or’s Hotel Forestel on October 19, she was expecting to spend a quiet evening with her two children in – at her specific request – a room in the hotel’s newly renovated wing. The next few hours unfolded as any family stay at a hotel usually does, complete with excited kids and a take-out dinner. However, it was when Bugden’s delivery of St-Hubert chicken arrived that her sense of safety in the hotel came crashing down – literally.

“The delivery man wasn’t receiving a signal on the Interac machine I was using to pay for the food,” said Bugden. “He took a few steps back in the hallway to try and get a signal, and out of nowhere a big piece of the ceiling fell down on top of him. It looked like it just about knocked him unconscious.”

The “newly renovated” ceiling panel, which Bugden estimated to be one square metre, left delivery man Charles Matte with a newly renovated forehead, specifically a large bruise and a bloody gash. Quickly coming to his aid, Bugden said she was unable to lift the panel off Matte without his help.

After Bugden called the front desk, Matte was guided away by a Forestel employee who joked that the hotel “didn’t like delivery boys.”

Matte opted not to visit the hospital or seek medical attention after the strange incident, and decided not to pursue legal action against Forestel.

“I’m not angry at anybody, they took care of me,” said Matte, adding that the hotel provided him with financial compensation for the deliveries he failed to make while recovering at the front desk. However, even the particularly hard-headed delivery man couldn’t deny the immense hazard that falling pieces of ceiling presents.

image-4“I’m a big boy, I can handle these types of things,” said Matte with a laugh. “But if that panel had fallen on a child or an elderly person, they could’ve been seriously hurt.”

Matte estimated that the panel that fell on him weighed close to 100 pounds. Neither was the danger of the falling tile lost on Bugden. She said the incident shocked her into being increasingly cautious while navigating the four-star establishment’s hallways with her young children.

“If I’m paying $163 for a hotel room, I expect to be able to walk down the halls safely with my kids,” said Bugden, adding that the reactions of hotel staff to the incident led her to suspect this wasn’t the first time structural issues surrounding Forestel’s new renovations had caused problems.

Forestel management told the Nation that this was the first time such an incident had occurred, adding that the panel may have been knocked out of place earlier in the day by someone holding their luggage above their head. They did not have any safety advice for our readers regarding falling ceiling panels. However, the Well-Being and Safety section of the hotel’s website does advise that clients use the supplied “Do Not Disturb” cards to ensure peace, quiet and comfort during their stay. The Nation recommends carrying a stack of these cards protectively above your head at all times when venturing through Forestel’s hallways – particularly if you’re delivering chicken.

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