ST. PETERSBURG — More than 50 guests at Renaissance Vinoy Resort were evacuated Monday morning when a power surge fried two air-conditioning units, sending smoke throughout the historic hotel, fire officials said.
The surge, which shut off the power in several buildings around the Vinoy, hit just after 10 a.m. It burned out one unit inside the main hotel and an air-conditioner motor atop the guest tower, officials said.
As many as 75 guests were evacuated to the front lobby when smoke began to seep into the air ducts, said Vinoy general manager Russ Bond.
No one was injured and the power was back on in less than an hour.
"The problem is when you have an air-conditioning unit that runs on 220 volts and then you have 1,000 volts suddenly come in, it burns it up," St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue spokesman Joel Granata said.
Firefighters received several 911 calls as well as notification from the hotel's smoke alarm system.
The hotel will be packed with politicians and celebrities next week during the Republican National Convention, Aug. 27–30 in Tampa.
Marissa Lang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8804.