ALEXANDRIA, LA Sunday, February 23, 2014- What started out as a controlled evacuation quickly turned to panic and chaos at the Coushatta Casino Resort in Kinder, LA last night.
Lake Charles news stations associated with KALB reported that two electrical generators exploded at the casino. They were running on generator power as one transformer went out earlier that day, according to staff on the scene.
One guest says the "place was crowded." While there was no explosion, it is confirmed that a generator did catch fire due to the demand, and it was isolated to the electrical/utility room.
An investigation is ongoing into the matter, and no details are confirmed concerning the fire by the fire marshal, there were confirmed injuries associated with the evacuation.
It has been confirmed by people on the scene that several patrons were transported to hospitals. By valet, a woman was actually ran over by an elderly couple fleeing the scene. Another woman was taken to the hospital with chest pains. Other reports say that several were taken to the hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.
The children were the first evacuated, and it did get chaotic as there was no one doing crowd control at all.
No one knew if it was real or a drill at first, other than parents who ran to their children at Kids Quest (who handled the children rather well).
Many parents interviewed felt their children should have been taken further from the building and that they took a little took long getting them out.
Other parents were growing irate with the workers on the scene because they could not immediately remove their "own children."
Workers of Kids Quest stated that they have to insure the safety and well being of every child as well as to make sure they are leaving with a parent while maintaining a proper head count.
After the verification's were made as to whose children were whose they were able to take their kids away from the scene, and parents were told they could "settle up later" on the bill.
The woman who was hit was only feet away from where the children were being held.
For at least an hour after the alarms sounded people were still inside trying to gamble on the working machines. Many had substantial balances due in the machines when the blackout occurred.
The casino did remain closed on Saturday night because of the amount of smoke inside the building.
Photos on KPLC-TV, show "crowds of people outside the resort, while other picture show an evacuated gaming area that was blocked off with caution tape."
The name of the female hit by the car has not been releases nor has her condition. Bystanders say that she was "holding up well, though in obvious pain." She was made to lay flat, and a worker did attend to the woman until emergency personnel arrived on the scene.
Meanwhile, the Coushatta Tribe said in a news release, "At no point were patrons or workers in any immediate danger; Despite rumors to the contrary, while there was some smoke, there were no explosions and no one was injured as a result of the fire."
People who were present at the time of the fire and evacuation proceedings say that the evacuation was handled poorly at best, and that there is a serious need for preparation training in the event that anything happens like this in the future.
There are still parts of the casino that has no power, and it is not set to reopen until sometime Sunday according to staff.