Duluth hotel guests evacuated over electrocution fears


DULUTH, Ga.,None - Guests at a Duluth hotel were evacuated Monday morning over fears of electrocution.

Channel 2's Amanda Cook went to the Candlewood Suites on Shackleford Road, where more than 80 guests were barred access. All guests were evacuated after a water boiler burst and flooded some electrical paneling.

Cook spoke to guest Jimmy Kallus, who was waiting on repairs with his dog Teddy in a car parked outside. He and 82 others were left scrambling shortly after 5 a.m. when a hotel fire alarm went off.

"We didn't really know what it was because I've never had a fire alarm go off in a hotel before," Kallus said.

Emergency crews told Cook the alarm went off after a water boiler burst on the third floor.

"The water flowed from the third floor to the first floor, where the electrical panel is located, all the utilities and everything. So, there was water flowing onto the electrical panel boxes when we investigated," Gwinnett fire Lt. Eric Eberly said.

Eberly said guests and staff suddenly stood a risk of getting shocked.
"Anytime you have water and power still active in the building, anyone is in danger of stepping in the water and being electrocuted," he said.

Georgia Power and repair crews arrived at the scene. The repair company’s project manager said crews would check each room for water damage.
"We have equipment to extract it from every room, to vacuum it out," said John Blackerby, of Blackmon Mooring Company. "It may take a few days to dry out."

The hotel’s general manger said it was probably old age that caused the boiler to burst. He added that only a few of the rooms sustained any serious water damage, and all guests will be back in their rooms or put in another room by the end of the day.