THE New Zealand women’s national team had to be temporarily evacuated from their hotel on Saturday night after a suspected arson attack.
Emergency services were called to the Pullman Hotel in Auckland just before 8pm after the alarms were set off.
They arrived at the scene to find that the building was full of smoke due to several fires.
According to The New Zealand Herald, the Football Ferns – who won the opening game of the tournament 1-0 against Norway – were evacuated through a stairwell before being sent to a nearby private restaurant.
They then had to wait before receiving confirmation that they would be able to return to their team base.
An official statement from New Zealand Football read: “New Zealand Football can confirm that the Football Ferns team and staff have been temporarily evacuated from the Pullman Hotel, their team base for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, due to a fire.
“All of the team and staff are safe and accounted for.”
New Zealand police later confirmed that a 34-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the fire.
A spokesperson said: “A man has been arrested following a suspicious fire at a premises on Waterloo Quad, Auckland Central last night.
“The 34-year-old has been charged with burglary and arson and is due to appear in Auckland District Court on Monday.”
On Sunday, New Zealand defender CJ Bott revealed that some players encountered smoke while evacuating the hotel.
During a press conference, she said: “It was devastating and it definitely threw a spanner in the works for us.
“It’s not ideal and it’s not a situation anyone wants to be in.
“Yeah, one of the fire exits was a bit smoky but the majority of us got down the other safe exit and we exited the building perfectly fine.”
Gabi Rennie added: “We had really good security on board that gave us really good instruction and we all kind of dealt with it pretty well.
“I think our team is pretty good with dealing with adversity. So it’s just another kind of test.”
The fire occurred just a matter of days after Auckland was rocked by a fatal shooting which left two people dead and six injured.
New Zealand will be in action again on Tuesday against the Philippines.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/23146072/womens-world-cup-new-zealand-hotel-arson-attack/ Women’s World Cup stars forced to flee New Zealand hotel after arson attack sparks ‘devastating’ blaze