Mon, Aug 10, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Aussie supporters claim to have set off hotel fire alarm

AFP , SYDNEY

An Australian supporter group has admitted setting off the fire alarm that forced the England team out of their hotel on the opening morning of the fourth Ashes Test, reports in Australia said yesterday.

The England cricket team’s hotel in Leeds was evacuated in the early hours of Friday morning following the fire alarm, forcing the players to stand outside in heavy rain for more than 20 minutes until the all-clear was given.

“Fanatics” leader Warren Livingstone told the Sunday Telegraph that one of the 100-strong group had set the alarm off with the aim of disrupting the England players’ sleep, describing it as “good old-fashioned Aussie high jinks.”

“Yes, it was one of our guys who did it as a bit of a prank. I got a text message after it happened,” Livingstone told the Sydney newspaper. “At first I thought ‘good on yer,’ we’re just doing our bit for Australia, but I can’t condone this sort of thing. I don’t want any trouble. We’ve all had a big laugh and it might have made a difference, the way they batted.”

England wicketkeeper Matt Prior blamed the incident for his team’s batting collapse.

Australia bowled out England for just 102 on Friday’s opening day.

A spokeswoman for the Radisson SAS Hotel in Leeds, England, refused to divulge what caused the fire alarm to go off, but said it was “definitely not a prank.”

British media reports conflict with the Fanatics’ claims. They said the alarm may have been set off by another hotel guest, a woman who had rinsed her underwear in a bathroom sink and left it to dry too close to a light bulb.

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