Friday, June 5, 2009


Electrical fire causes disruption at Foxwoods
Blaze started by contractors enlarging manhole, burning cables, knocking out power

By Brian Hallenbeck Published on 6/4/2009

Smoke rises from the Foxwoods complex Wednesday as seen from atop Lantern Hill.

Mashantucket - A small fire that knocked out power to a portion of Foxwoods Resort Casino Wednesday was ignited in a manhole on the road leading to the Grand Pequot Tower.

The fire burned electrical cables, tripping circuit breakers and shutting down power to the casino in an area where restaurants, the Bingo Hall and the Festival Slots Casino are located. Backup generators kept the lights on, and the casino switched to an alternative power source, according to Rob Victoria, Foxwoods' senior vice president of consumer marketing.

Power was fully restored by 5:45 p.m., about four hours after the fire broke out, said Karen Samide, a spokeswoman for Connecticut Light & Power.

Firefighters from the Mashantucket Pequot Fire Department contained the fire to the manhole and let it burn out, Victoria said. People on nearby Lantern Hill and elsewhere in the area photographed flames and a plume of thick, dark smoke that rose more than 30 feet into the air.

The fire occurred as contractors hired by CL&P were enlarging the manhole in con-nection with work related to the Route 2 bypass project, according to Samide. The workers had constructed wooden forms to contain concrete and had sprayed the wood with oil, she said. In cutting the wood, they accidentally sparked a fire that burned the oil and electrical cables.

Into the evening, CL&P had men on the scene repairing the cables.

Foxwoods cleared patrons from a food court and the Festival Buffet as soon as the power outage occurred.

The buffet resumed serving at 7 p.m., and at 8, a performance of “Legends in Concert” went on as scheduled in the Fox Theater.

Around 5 p.m., patrons were lined up outside the Bingo Hall while others sat in the Festival Slots Casino, waiting for the machines, which had locked up when the power went out, to come back on. By 5:25, the entire room appeared to be on line.

Right away, Janice Geoffroy's luck changed.

”I wasn't winning before the power went out, but I am now,” Geoffroy, of Southwick, Mass., said. “I think it's a sign.”


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