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Candle Fire Prompts Evacuation of 600 Guests
at Uniondale Marriott, Melville, New York

By John Valenti, Newsday, Melville, N.Y.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Oct. 7, 2009--The Uniondale Marriott hotel was evacuated early Wednesday after smoke from burning candles in an 11th floor guest room activated the fire suppression system, police and fire officials said.

A hotel spokeswoman said about 400 rooms were occupied and the candles caused "a smoke condition" and a small fire that was immediately extinguished by the sprinkler system.

No one was injured, Nassau County police said.

"Obviously, we're very thankful there were no injuries," Marriott spokeswoman Kathleen Duffy said Wednesday. "No. 1 importance is the safety and security of our guests."

Police and fire officials said emergency calls were received at 2:16 a.m. Officials said the Uniondale Fire Department and Nassau County Ambulance responded to the scene.

About 600 guests were evacuated, police said.

Guests are not allowed to have lit candles in guest rooms, Duffy said. Police said the Nassau County fire marshal's office is investigating the incident, but it was unclear if any charges are pending.

The Marriott, located next to the Nassau Coliseum, has 11 floors and 602 guest rooms, according to the hotel Web site.

Duffy said the evacuation was done in "a very orderly fashion" and guests returned to their rooms as soon as fire officials determined the hotel was safe for occupation. The time frame was unclear.


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