Dublin news viewers stunned as Henry Winkler is among hotel guests evacuated after fire

Dubliners were in for a surprise when they switched on the news to find actor Henry Winkler being evacuated from a hotel fire.

Staff and guests were forced to leave The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin’s city centre on Wednesday (12 June) after an alarm was raised at 10:30am.

Barry star Winkler, known by many as The Fonz from sitcom Happy Days, found himself on the street outside the establishment –and his response has since gone viral.

“When I heard the fire alarm, I thought it was the clock radio,” the 78-year-old comedian told RTÉ News.

“I thought somebody had set the alarm before we got there, like another guest. Finally, I went into another room, and it was still buzzing, so I called downstairs.

“The woman said in a very calm voice, ‘Yes, we’re all evacuating. You must evacuate right now.’ And I left.”

The star was in the Irish capital to promote his new memoir, Being Henry - The Fonz and Beyond, when a flight delay meant that he was forced to find somewhere to stay for the night.

Winkler’s Happy Days character, Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli, was initially introduced to the hit US TV show in 1974 as a side character. However, he was eventually made a lead cast member when his popularity began to surpass that of others on the show. He appeared on the programme until it ended in 1984.

The comedy star was also seen praising firefighters and taking pictures with everyone including the emergency services, guests, and staff.

Henry Winkler was unexpected guest in hotel evacuated due to a fire (RTÉ News)
Henry Winkler was unexpected guest in hotel evacuated due to a fire (RTÉ News)

“Firemen are some of my favourite human beings, firemen and firewomen. They run in when other people are running out. I think their hands deserve to be shook,” he said.

“It was an amazing adventure right here in Dublin. I cannot wait to see the rest of Dublin,” he added.

Fans celebrated Winkler’s unexpected news appearance on social media, with one posting, “Thought Dublin felt cooler this week. Some blamed the weather, it’s because The Fonz is in town.”

Others were incredulous, adding, “Winkler is on the island?! Why wasn’t the president meeting him at the airport? What an absolute treasure of a man.”

Dublin Fire Brigade Colm Kershaw confirmed that the fire was confined to one room with minimal damage, and everybody had been evacuated safely.

“The crews got up there fairly quick and got water on it. We had the floor isolated, and we got it out fairly quick,” he said.

Firefighters accessed the roof of the building, close to where smoke had been seen billowing from a window, using a crane. An electrical fault is being investigated as a possible cause. The fire is said to have started in the roof space above a bedroom in a new wing on the sixth floor of the historic hotel.