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Official: Power won’t be fully back at Vegas casino for days

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    NHP and Metro Police officers block off the entrance off Flamingo Road to 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. The Rio casino in Las Vegas scrambled to find alternate lodging for guests Thursday after a power outage led to the evacuation of 900 rooms just before the busy New Year’s Eve weekend, officials said. Nobody was injured, but emergency responders helped some guests with disabilities get to the bottom of the tower.

LAS VEGAS >> The busy New Year’s holiday weekend is likely to come and go before a Rio casino hotel tower in Las Vegas fully recovers from a power outage that prompted a 900-room evacuation, officials said Friday.

Spokesman Richard Broome of the Rio’s parent company, Caesars Entertainment, said the company is testing to see whether rooms on the lowest 20 floors can be occupied Friday. That could mean about 500 rooms would reopen in time for the holiday, when hotel rooms are scarce.

Broome said about 400 rooms on the upper floors of the Masquerade Tower will likely be unoccupied for several more days.

The chain of events that triggered the outage and evacuation started Wednesday, when a sink in a service area overflowed and shorted a fuse in the tower’s power system. The hotel moved to a backup generator, but that had been compromised by water from a fire sprinkler and it gave out on Thursday morning.

Guests in the near-capacity tower were transferred to other rooms in casinos owned by Caesars, but also to competitors’ rooms.

“Naturally, they’re frustrated,” Broome said at a news conference on Friday. “We’re trying to bend over backward to try to make that frustration as small as possible by giving them free food, by giving them as much information as we can, making sure we transport them over to the other property they’ll be staying at.”

The 2,500-room Rio, which was built in 1990 and is a short drive from the Las Vegas Strip, is one of the more affordable resorts in Las Vegas, with rooms that run less than $100 on an off-peak night. It’s home to magicians Penn and Teller, the Chippendales male revue and Food Network personality Guy Fieri’s restaurant El Burro Borracho.

The timing of the outage is particularly problematic because it comes 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 Sin City, which is welcoming big-name musical acts and putting on an eight-minute pyrotechnic show that features fireworks launched from casino rooftops.

Broome said Caesars hasn’t estimated how much the outage is costing them.

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  • I stayed at the Rio in November, thinking it was one of the premier casino/hotels. First impression was not good. Attached parking structure had trash around the inside, in the stairways – a trip/fall hazard. Later I saw a vacuum trash truck in the garage. Later on I noticed no one got out of the truck to put trash out of it’s reach in it’s path, clear the stairways. Management failure.

    At night the hotel’s main sign showing the inside attractions, etc, had over half the lighting not working. Not a good impression for people arriving at night, competing hotels have perfectly lighted signs. Major maintenance management failure.

    Inside the main hotel area numerous escalators were out of order. Trash around the area showed it had been that way for some time. Another management failure to get repairs done in a timely manner.

    Had a No Smoking room. Signage inside said the same. There were hotel ashtrays in the closet area. No smoke smell in the room. Another management failure.

    Room and hallways had numerous areas where drywall needed minor repairs, tape coming loose. More maintenance management failures.

    Shower faucet diverter valve barely working, sending most of the water down the drain versus through the shower head. Another maintenance management failure.

    All these maintenance areas not taken care of shows the hotel is in need of better management. Would not be surprised if the investigation shows maintenance failures caused the sink to overflow, starting the cascade of failures. This did not have to happen.

    Good points were large clean rooms, nice furniture, comfortable beds, very nice, helpful staff members. I would stay here again.

  • This chain owns enough properties to house everyone evacuated. Problem is this is one of the most busiest times of the year. I’m sure they’ll figure it out. They should ask for Ceaser’s Palace…

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