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Smoke In Basement Causes Center City Hotel Evacuation

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) --- The Philadelphia Fire Department arrived at the Sheraton Hotel, at 16th and Race Streets in center city, early this morning.  They were called to the scene about 4am because of a report of a light haze of smoke in the hotel's basement.

About 1,000 people were evacuated as a  precautionary measure from 757 rooms in the 26-story hotel.

Sheraton Evacuation Group
People who were evacuated from the Sheraton Hotel in Center City early Wednesday morning due to smoke in the basement. (Credit: CBS)

The fire department reported that the cause of the smoke was an electrical panel that controls the HVAC system in the basement.

Hotel guests remained evacuated until about 12:30pm while fire officials waited for the smoke to dissipate.

Because of fire equipment in the area, police set up local traffic detours.

Sheraton Evacuation Fire Equipment
Fire equipment outside Center City's Sheraton Hotel. (Credit: CBS)
Sheraton Evacuation evacuees
Hundreds of people wait outside the Sheraton Hotel in Center City due to a smoke evacuation. (Credit: CBS)

Fire officials declared the situation under control around 6:45 am.  Fans were set up on each floor to push the smoke into the fire tower and clear the building.

Guests at the hotel said there have been electrical issues at the hotel all weekend, but it's unclear if this situation is related.

About three hours after the hotel was evacuated, hotel guests were offered shelter at the nearby Pennsylvania Convention Center.  The all-clear was sounded about 12:30pm, at which time hotel guests were allowed unrestricted access to their rooms.

KYW Newsradio's Al Novack and Jim Melwert contributed to this report.

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