Updated 06/13/2012 09:52 PM
Midtown Hilton Loses Power Due To Basement Fire
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Emergency crews responded to the Midtown Hilton this afternoon following a "electrical condition."
Officials said a fire in two electrical panels in the basement knocked out power to the building.
Two people working on the electricity at the time suffered minor injuries, as did a hotel worker.
Firefighters rescued nine people who were trapped in two elevators for approximately 30 minutes.
Emergency power kept some elevators operational and important lights on throughout the building.
"We were faced with numerous challenges," said FDNY Deputy Chief Jim Hodgins. "We had 24 elevators that weren't accounted for, so we had to search 24 elevators. Communication was an issue. It was a fully occupied hotel, more than 3,000 people in the hotel. We were able to rescue nine people from the elevators."
The hotel, which has more than 2,000 rooms, is slowly regaining its electricity and elevators are being restored.
In the meantime, the Hilton is working to find rooms for many of its guests.
A hotel spokesperson said staff worked hard to find rooms in other hotels for guests who wanted to leave, but NY1 was told told the majority chose the stay.
Fire officials do not expect power to be fully restored until Friday.
Some guests were initially confused by the power outage and feared an attack was occurring.
"All of a sudden, we hear 'pop-pop-pop-pop,' a series of them, and we thought it sounded like rapid gunfire, so we dove into the closet and hid in the dark for probably five minutes or so and didn't know what to do," said a guest.
"There were a few announcements from several people, just kind of saying that it wasn't an attack and just to remain put until they had more information," said another guest.
"We didn't know what the hell was going on," said a third.
An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.