HUNDREDS of spectators at a dance competition in a Dublin hotel had to hotfoot it outside after a fire emergency.
The event at the Regency Hotel in Drumcondra was abruptly ended by Dublin Fire Brigade just as the winning pair were to receive their trophy.
Up to 900 people were at the show in aid of Naomh Barrog GAA club in Kilbarrack. FF's Averil Power was a competitor.
But the hotel's function room – where the event was taking place – had to be completely evacuated at about midnight on Saturday when smoke in a bedroom set off the alarm.
"It was bizarre. Just as they were handing the trophy to the couple, a fireman came onto the stage and said we're evacuating the hotel," Ms Power said.
"There was a fire in one of the bedrooms or something like that. We (the competitors) were all up on stage. They had brought us back in twos and we did the final walk-around. They called out the votes – third, second and first. And just as they were giving the trophy to the winning couple, a fireman came up and said we're evacuating the hotel and there were three units of Dublin Fire Brigade outside," she added.
The hotel did not reply to a request for a comment.
The winning pair – Stephen Deering and Bernie Glynn – weren't to be denied, however.
"We went back to the club and they had their big moment. They did the dance again and it was really great craic. It went great. Everybody enjoyed themselves and they (the club) made a fortune. The judges voted and the audience voted by paying for votes," the senator said.
Among the judges were TV3 presenter Mark Cagney.
Ms Power and her dance partner Barry Hehir, a garda in Finglas, were awarded fourth place for their attempt at an Argentine tango, while the winners performed the cha-cha-cha.
"It was Strictly Come Dancing Kilbarrack. There were 14 couples. I came fourth. I had never danced in my life. It was an amazing night and the club made €25,000 from it," she said.
"We had been practising for six weeks. The Argentine tango was one of the hardest (dances). I thought I would never be able to do it. The guy I was dancing with, Barry Hehir, is a football and hurling player so we had a lot of lifts. It distracted from the footwork," she quipped.