Rivers Casino reopens after late Sunday kitchen fire

Rivers Casino in Des Plaines reopened at 7 a.m. Monday after a late Sunday night fire in the kitchen of an attached restaurant forced an evacuation.

No injuries were reported in the blaze that began shortly after 10 p.m. in the cooking ventilation system and rooftop exhaust fans of Hugo's Frog Bar, Des Plaines fire officials said. One of the evacuated patrons requested medical assistance and was taken to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital with a nonlife-threatening issue.

The fire appears to have been sparked when grease that had accumulated in the hood and duct system ignited, a city spokeswoman said.

The Des Plaines Fire Department reported the fire under control and extinguished just after 11 p.m., according to scanner traffic. Fire damage was isolated to the kitchen hood and duct and a portion of the roof, and there was slight water damage elsewhere, city officials said.

While the casino reopened early Monday, Hugo's remains closed indefinitely for repairs, a Rivers spokesman said.

"We're grateful for the quick response by the (Des Plaines Fire Department) and by the orderly evacuation of our guests," the casino said in an email. "The fire suppression system and evacuation procedures worked well. The Des Plaines Fire Department is investigating the incident and we will await their findings."

Rivers staff uses surveillance video to ensure all bets made at the time of an evacuation are processed and paid, the spokesman said.

Under the state's COVID-19 rules, casinos can maintain normal operating hours, which for Rivers Casino means they are open 24 hours a day, but are only allowed 50% of total capacity.

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