Christie Smith reports from Rohnert Park on the unexpected power outage overnight at the Bay Area's biggest casino.
Soon after Rohnert Park residents brought their concerns about gambling and traffic to the city council on Tuesday, an unrelated power outage in the city brought separate issues to the forefront of the goings-on at and near the Graton Resort & Casino.
About 3,600 PG&E customers in the area, including the casino, were without power late Tuesday night after a vehicle hit a utility pole on Santa Rosa Avenue just north of town.
Emergency dispatchers said the power failure was caused by a vehicle that hit a utility pole near Roberts Lake Park on Santa Rosa Avenue, north of Golf Course Drive just before 11 p.m. The crash sparked a small fire, dispatchers said. The driver of the car fled on foot and had not been found as of 11:20 p.m. Power was restored at 12:15 a.m. Before then, gamblers including Herb Kniess said when all the lights went out, people went "oooooooh," and had to wait for a time until they could cash in their chips.
NBC Bay Area obtained exclusive video of the crash from a cell phone. The video shows firefighters extinguishing the fire, as the car smokes and sirens wail in the background.
That incident followed on the heels of a city council meeting earlier in the evening where some Rohnert Park residents brought to the city council Tuesday, a week after the opening of the $800 million Graton Casino.
City officials said good planning ahead of the opening made the best of traffic issues associated with the new casino.
With the initial rush of excitement over, police and fire crews will reduce resources around the casino, which will save the money, officials said.
Rohnert Park to date has garnered $2.6 million in revenue since the casino opened its doors last week.
Some residents are suggesting using the funding generated from the casino back into the city's public school system.