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January 18, 2017

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Power outage at Rio prompts evacuation of 900 rooms

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Yasmina Chavez

The Nevada Highway Patrol and Metro Police block the entrance to the Rio off Flamingo Road after a power outage at the Masquerade Tower led to guests being evacuated on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016.

Updated Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016 | 1:21 p.m.

Rio Evacuation

Fire trucks line the front of the Rio Hotel & Casino after reports of smoke coming from the 21st floor of the Masquerade Tower led to guests being evacuated Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016. Launch slideshow »

Water overflowing from a plugged sink leaked into an electrical conduit, causing a power outage at the Rio on Wednesday night that ultimately forced the evacuation of 900 rooms, a Caesars Entertainment spokesman said today.

Richard Broome, executive vice president of public affairs and communications for Caesars Entertainment, which operates the Rio, said water leaking from the sink in a service area of the resort’s Masquerade Tower caused a fuse to blow, cutting power about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

When the fuse blew it started a small fire that was quickly contained by the hotel’s sprinkler system, Clark County Fire Chief Greg Cassell said.

Nobody was injured, but guests in 400 rooms from the 22nd floor up had to be evacuated via stairway because elevators were not working, officials said. Firefighters had to carry some handicapped guests and their belongings to the ground floor, officials said.

Then at 7 a.m. today, water from the sprinkler system shorted out a fuse in the backup power system, cutting power to the tower’s other 500 rooms and forcing an evacuation of those guests. The second blown fuse did not cause a fire, Broome said.

Broome said the power will remain out overnight but he expects the tower to be fully operational sometime Friday. The hotel is working with guests who are leaving Las Vegas today to get their clothes and other belongings from the rooms they had been staying in, he said.

Guests who have longer stays will be put up at other Caesars properties and, if necessary, at non-Caesars hotels, Broome said. Guests will be compensated for their trouble on a case-by-case basis, he said.

The Voodoo Lounge, located atop the tower, is also closed. Broome said he does not expect the outage to affect plans the Rio has for New Year’s Eve.

The outage at the Rio was the second time a Caesars property in Las Vegas has lost power this year. In early November, workers cut the main power line and a backup power line to the 2,900-room Paris Las Vegas. Guests were evacuated, and power wasn’t restored until the following day.

Broome called both outages unfortunate accidents.

While the Paris outage was probably not preventable, the company will examine what can be done to address the threat water poses to hotel electrical systems, he said.

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