Las Vegas casino evacuated: Will patrons be compensated?

About 1,000 rooms in Las Vegas's Excalibur casino were evacuated in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. Casino officials have said disturbed guests will be comped 'on a case by case basis.'

Julie Jacobson/AP
Las Vegas Metro Police officers stand watch outside the entrance to the Excalibur hotel-casino in December 2012. The Las Vegas casino was evacuated Tuesday morning after an overheated ventilation motor caused a smoky smell to fill one of the casino's four towers.

Las Vegas' Excalibur casino was evacuated after an overheated ventilation motor caused a smoky smell in the wee hours Tuesday morning.

MGM resorts spokesman Gordon Absher said hotel employees evacuated one of the Las Vegas Strip casino's four towers after alarms went off around 2 a.m. Tuesday. Guests were allowed back in to the 28-floor structure two hours later.

There was no actual fire, but the smoke smell spread because it started in the ventilation system, Absher said.

The smoke smell was drawn down from the roof and permeated three floors in one 1,000-room tower. The tower averages 36 rooms per floor.

The machinery was fixed by Tuesday afternoon.

Absher said the company regrets that guests were inconvenienced in the middle of the night.

"As far as compensation, we will handle this in the normal course of delivering our good customer service," he said. "We'll deal with this on a case by case basis."

One guest said management offered to compensate him with a free buffet and refund his hotel room charges.

Dave Ward, who was visiting from Canada, said he was awoken shortly after 2 a.m. by a phone call from his friend, who had been evacuated.

"I jumped out of bed and looked out the window to see all the emergency response," he said. "So I got dressed and grabbed my essentials and walked out."

Dave said he smelled burning plastic and saw a haze in the air.

Las Vegas casinos have some of the most advanced fire prevention systems in the world, Absher said.

Las Vegas Strip hotels have adhered to strict fire codes enacted following two deadly high-rise hotel fires more than 30 years ago. The MGM Grand hotel blaze in November 1980 killed 87 people. An arson fire at the Las Vegas Hilton nearly three months later killed eight people.

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