900 of the 2,500 rooms at the Rio casino and resort in Las Vegas – traditional home of the World Series of Poker every year, were evacuated Thursday following a power outage.
The Associated Press news agency reports that a fuse shorted in a backup generator that was powering the hotel’s Masquerade Tower, and because that affected the fire control systems, officials made the decision to evacuate the occupants of 900 rooms.
The outage was particularly problematic because it came at one of the busiest and most lucrative weekends of the year for Las Vegas. More than 300,000 visitors are expected to ring in the new year in the gambling and entertainment hub, and the hotel was booked to near-capacity according to a spokesman. The evacuated guests had to be relocated in other hotels similarly under pressure for rooms.
AP reports that the problem first surfaced Wednesday when a plugged sink in a service area accidentally overflowed, shorting out the fuse in the main power system and causing a small electrical fire that prompted a more limited evacuation.
Management then relied on a backup generator, but that was later compromised by water from a fire sprinkler and it too shorted early Thursday. By noon, the company determined it needed to move guests to other hotels and started escorting them back to the rooms to retrieve their belongings, the spokesman said, expressing the hope that the repairs could be effected by Friday.