Fire damage forces closure of Topaz Lake casino

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Topaz Lodge and Casino will be closed an undetermined time after sustaining substantial damage in Tuesday's fire.

Employees arrived early Wednesday morning to secure the casino's gaming operations. The fire, which started in the lodge attic above the business offices and is still under investigation, is believed to have been caused by an electrical short.

At 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, office manager Deanna Newman was closing down the office for the day when the smoke alarm went off. When security officers investigated the cause of the alarm, they found the attic filled with thick white smoke, according to Newman.

Topaz Lake Volunteer Fire Department was first on the scene with additional units from Topaz Ranch Estates, Ruhenstroth, Gardnerville Ranchos and Fish Springs, all arriving within 10 to 15 minutes of the first report. The fire was declared extinguished at 7:11 p.m.

"We got everyone evacuated safely, and nobody was hurt. That was the main thing," casino owner, Rob Cashell said.

Cashell said he was confident that the casino and restaurants would not be closed for very long.

"We have a lot of cleanup and mop-up to do. There is a lot of smoke and water damage that we will have to deal with," he said.

The majority of the fire damage was contained to the attic and the business offices in the new portion of the upstairs of the lodge above the casino floor.

"We're going to work night and day to get it back open as soon as possible," said Rick Ross, general manager. "Obviously we won't be able to have our annual Easter brunch.

"The biggest thing is taking care of our employees."

The lodge has a staff of about 150 employees and during the cleanup and restoration, the store, gas station and lodging accommodations will remain open. The lodge is offering special room rates of $35 a night until the casino and restaurants can re-open.


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