Lighting storm causes casino fire and evacuation - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Lighting storm causes casino fire and evacuation

COULEE DAM, Wash. - A fire started above Okanogan, Washington Tuesday on a hilltop near Highway 97 at about 7 p.m. due to a lightning storm. The fire spread west toward the Okanogan-Bingo Casino forcing the evacuation of about 180 people.

"We had begun to clear people out just before 8 p.m. last night," said Dena Jackson, operations manager for OBC. "No one was hurt and there was no damage to our casino but we lost power, the employees were allowed back in the casino around 10:30 last night."

The Okanogan County Sheriff's Department says the wind carried the fire across Highway 97.

"We saw the fire actually jump across the street," said Sheriff Frank Rogers, but there was a fire unit on the scene and the fire wasn't able to spread around the casino that part of the fire was put out."

Rogers believes Highway 97 was re-opened around midnight Tuesday and around 1500 acres were damaged by the fire.

Jackson says the power is back on at OBC and the casino opened for business at 9:43 a.m. Wednesday.
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