Worker injured in electrical
fire at Marco Marriott; hotel evacuated
January 29, 2007
A worker received serious injuries after an electrical
fire at the Marco Island Marriott Resort this afternoon
that forced the hotel's evacuation, according to Marco
An outside contractor was performing maintenance
on the hotel's electrical system when an explosion
occurred resulting in a fire, city spokeswoman Lisa
The Marco Island Fire Department received the call
at 2:42 p.m. and responded two minutes later.
The worker was transported to the hospital with severe
burns. Three other workers received minor injuries
and declined further treatment. Bob Pfeffer, the Marriott's
director of sales and marketing, said four guests
were treated for minor smoke inhalation.
The explosion filled the hotel's South Tower with
smoke and forced the evacuation of the entire hotel,
which was at 732-room capacity, as well as cutting
power to the building, Pfeffer said. The hotel's South
Tower remains evacuated and without power. Guest have
been allowed to return to the North Tower, which has
Fire crews from Golden Gate, East Naples, Isles of
Capri and Collier County Emergency Medical Services
also responded to the scene.
Marco Marriott back to normal after fire, outage
One worker was hurt in the Monday electrical fire;
resort’s South Tower had no power overnight
By Liam Dillon
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Business slowly returned to normal Tuesday at the
Marco Island Marriott Resort, following an electrical
fire that sent one worker to the hospital and cut
power for more than a day to one of the hotel’s
The worker injured in the fire was released from
the hospital Monday night, according to an official
from the worker’s company.
George Nink, 45, of Fort Myers, a superintendent
with the Fort Myers Division of Tri-City Electrical
Contractors, received treatment at Downtown Naples
Hospital for first- and second-degree burns on his
hands and forearms, said Charles McFarland, a senior
vice president and chief financial officer for Tri-City.
Nink was working on an electrical panel in the hotel’s
South Tower, McFarland, Marriott and Marco Island
Fire Department officials said.
According to McFarland, the breaker “flashed
out” and a small explosion occurred. That started
the fire and sent smoke throughout the building.
The fire cut power to the Marriott’s North
and South towers and forced the hotel, which was at
its 732-room capacity, to evacuate its guests.
The hotel restored power and allowed guests to return
to the 318-room North Tower on Monday evening. Power
slowly was being restored to the South Tower on Tuesday
after the hotel received two emergency generators
“There was a big round of applause when power
in the lobby came back,” said Bob Pfeffer, the
Marriott’s director of sales and marketing.
At press time, Pfeffer said that the South Tower
did not have full power, but he expected it to be
restored by the end of the night.
Monday night’s power outage presented a difficult
situation for the hotel. Not only is it the height
of tourist season, it also is hosting a 650-guest
conference of the American Societies of Association
Seventy-five guests chose to relocate to other hotels,
the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and The Ritz-Carlton,
Naples, on the Marriott’s expense.
“Whatever rooms we had left (Monday) we just
gave them,” Hilton General Manager Mac Chaudhry
said. “We wanted to be good neighbors. It could
have happened to our property.”
The hotel paid for rooms for those who stayed in
the South Tower on Monday.
Guests seemed pleased with the Marriott’s response,
which included providing bottled water and glow sticks.
Renee Gecsedi, 43, a New York resident in town for
the conference, decided to stay at the Hilton on Monday.
She wished the hotel had made a general announcement
that alternative accommodations were available, but
was otherwise satisfied.
“I think the hotel really did what they could,”
Gecsedi said. “I’m not happy about having
to sit here and not have a room, but what are you
going to do?”
Anne Blouin from Washington, D.C., and Eileen Schmidt
from West Virginia stood in the lobby late Tuesday
afternoon after their conference ended. Schmidt said
Monday night’s situation was like a snowstorm:
it forced everyone into one place. There was a hidden
benefit in that: networking.
“This is where the energy was last night,”
Four fire departments and Collier County Emergency
Medical Services responded to the scene Monday evening,
according to Jeff Kutzke, a Marco fire division chief.
The full incident report from the department won’t
be available until Friday, Fire Chief Mike Murphy