Fire in Calif. causes hundreds to evacuate Pasadena hotel full of Rose Parade revelers

By Jacob Adelman, AP
Friday, January 1, 2010

Fire causes hundreds to evacuate Calif. hotel

PASADENA, Calif. — The Hilton Pasadena had to move hundreds of guests, including some who had attended the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl, after an electrical malfunction sent heavy smoke billowing through the hotel’s upper floors on New Year’s Day, authorities said.

The malfunction knocked out power at about 5:30 p.m. Friday, just as several tour buses full of fans from the Rose Bowl game were arriving back at the hotel, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said. A blown out transformer likely caused the problem, she said.

The fifth through 12th floors were left with a smoky smell that made them uninhabitable.

Guests on those floors were to be moved to another Hilton nearby after being escorted to their rooms to retrieve their belongings, Derderian said.

“It’s the one day with the game and the parade that every hotel in town is fully booked,” she said.

Hotel manager Thomas Lee refused to comment.

Albany, N.Y., resident Nancy Sponable said she and her husband Ed were resting in their room after attending the parade when they heard a loud bang and the power went out. They were evacuated shortly afterward.

“The hotel gave us sandwiches, drinks and desserts,” she said. “We were sitting outside. The weather’s nice at least.”

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