Foxwoods Casino Fire Forces Partial Evacuation

Mashantucket, Connecticut – A seven-alarm fire on a hotel roof forced hundreds of gamblers and guests out of Foxwoods Resort Casino on Tuesday.

It was the second rooftop fire at an American hotel-casino since Friday, when a blaze damaged the top floors of the Monte Carlo on the Las Vegas Strip and sent 17 people to hospitals with minor injuries.

There were no injuries reported from Tuesday’s fire at the Great Cedar Hotel, one of three hotels at Foxwoods, said Arthur Henick, a spokesman for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, which runs the casino.

By early evening, the smoldering fire was extinguished and crews began peeling back the steel roof where authorities believe the fire started, casino spokesman Saverio Mancini said.

The roof would remain open overnight to let the area cool off and fire officials planned to use an infrared camera that would pinpoint any hot spots remaining, Mancini said.
Henick said Foxwoods officials were not speculating about whether the fire was an accident or arson, but they believed it started on the roof of the eight-story building. He said he was not aware of any construction work that was being done on the roof.

Officials first evacuated the top three floors of the hotel, then later evacuated the entire 312-room building. As a precaution, officials also evacuated the Great Cedar Casino, located on the ground floor of the hotel and one of Foxwoods‘ six casinos.

The hotel and its ground floor casino would be closed overnight, casino officials said. The more than 280 guests that had rooms booked there were given complimentary rooms at Foxwoods other hotels as well as a hotel in nearby North Stonington.

Henick said most of the damage to the top floors is expected to be from all the water used to put out the fire. He said the fire was confined to the roof area.

„We’ve had some smoky things before,“ Henick said about previous incidents at Foxwoods. „Certainly in the 10 years I’ve been here, it’s the biggest we’ve ever had.“

More than 50 firefighters from the tribe’s fire department and nearby towns responded. The tribal and state fire marshals‘ offices also are investigating.

Donna Garfield of Lawrence, Mass., told The Day of New London that she was gambling at a slot machine when security personnel told her to leave the building.

„All I was told was that we had to leave for safety reasons but I didn’t know there was a fire until I saw the fire trucks outside,“ she said.

On Friday, a blaze on exterior foam-based sculpting at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas caused employees and guests in some 2,400 occupied rooms to be evacuated. A cause of that fire has not been determined.