Explosion at Florida casino injures more than 20 people, including customers

By Eileen Kelley

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — A system meant to suppress fires at the Seminole Classic Casino in Hollywood exploded Monday morning, causing dozens of injuries — including people inside the casino after drywall rained down on customers.

Seminole Tribe spokesman Gary Bitner said contract workers were servicing the fire suppression system as they do every six months when one of the lines to a gas canister ruptured causing the explosion.

The explosion happened on the second floor, which houses the casino’s server, other major equipment as well as company offices. In addition to causing widespread damage to the system and surrounding area, the casino on the ground level was also damaged when the drywall crashed down to the bottom floor.

About 100 people were in the casino at the time of the 9:50 a.m. explosion, Bitner said.

Six people were taken to a hospital. None of the injuries are life-threatening, Bitner said. Twenty additional people were treated at the scene but refused to be transported to a hospital.

“We were very lucky that the injuries were mainly minimal,” Bitner said. “And obviously we’re going to make sure we understand exactly what happened so it never happens again.”

Seminole Tribe Fire Rescue as well as fire and rescue units from Hollywood responded, treating people and evacuating the casino at 4150 N. State Road 7. Fire marshals from both agencies are investigating.

It is not clear when the casino will be able to open again.

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