Electrical fire forces downtown hotel evacuation

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A small fire forced the partial evacuation of the downtown Tampa Hilton this morning, and now all of the hotel's guests may have to check out until repairs can be made.

According to Tampa Fire Rescue, the small blaze broke out in an electrical room on the second floor where a building engineer was "troubleshooting an electrical issue."  When the engineer opened the panel, he said there was a flash and several bangs before the cabling began smoking.

The engineer doused the flames with a fire extinguisher but that floor and neighboring floors had to be evacuated, mainly due to smoke.

The building was ventilated but the fire marshal ordered that it remain unoccupied until the fire alarm system is repaired and reset. Electricians were working to make repairs so that crucial systems could be restored.

Some guests were allowed to collect items from their rooms only while escorted by hotel staff.

A portion of the hotel could reopen later this afternoon.

Stay with FOX 13 for any updates.