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Aurora Health Care

Breaking: Fire call leads to evacuation of 400 guests at Grand Geneva



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The Lake Geneva Fire Department's ladder truck is parked outside of the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa July 1 after several area department's responded to a report of a blown transformer.

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A family stands outside of the Grand Geneva waiting to return the resort after the evacuation.
July 01, 2011 | 05:03 PM
Lyons Township — About 400 guests were evacuated from the main building of the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa early Friday evening when a power surge from a larger, off-campus transformer caused four smaller transformers within the building to fail.

The grounds around the main hotel looked like a picnic site, as some guests settled down to eat cheese and crackers and drink wine they brought with them in the shade, while others threw Frisbees. Other guests just stood around and watched the fire trucks and equipment pull up.

Brett Sundstrom, Grand Geneva general manager, said the evacuation of guests and staff started about 4:40 p.m. as a precaution, as firefighters from at least four area fire departments checked the transformers and the building interior to make sure there were no fires or other hazards.

Sundstrom said none of the other buildings at Grand Geneva, including Timber Ridge, the health spa or starter shop were affected.

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Chip and Katie Cherry of Glenview, Ill., said they heard an alarm about 4:30 p.m. while they were in their room with their two daughters, ages 4 and 2.

At first, they were told that the alarm was caused by a power surge, Chip Cherry said. However, he said he and his 4 1/2 -year-old were walking to the pool, when they were told by a security guard that the building was being evacuated. Chip Cherry said they went back to their room, and the family left the building.

Firefighters started reporting their return to their stations about 5:50 p.m., a little over an hour after they had been called to the scene.

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