January 26, 2008 in Nation/World

Fire breaks out atop 32-story Vegas casino

Ashley Powers and Jesus Sanchez Los Angeles Times
 
The Spokesman-Review photo

The top floor of the Monte Carlo is blackened after a fire that broke out about 11 a.m. Friday.
(Full-size photo)

LAS VEGAS – A large fire raced across the top of the 32-story Monte Carlo resort and casino Friday, sending thick plumes of smoke across the Vegas Strip.

Clark County firefighters knocked down the blaze in about an hour after it was reported about 11 a.m., according to fire officials. The 3,000-room hotel was evacuated and no injuries, with the exception of a few minor cases of smoke inhalation, were reported in the three-alarm blaze.

The cause of the fire that scorched the top of two wings of the Y-shaped high-rise has not been determined, the Clark County Fire Department said. Welders were seen on the roof before the fire broke out, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Guests, some wearing bathrobes and towels, waited in a parking lot after being evacuated. There was no sense of panic as they were taken to nearby hotels, including New York New York and the Bellagio.

At its peak, flames licked the western-facing exterior of the hotel. The top several floors were damaged, but it was unclear if the rooms were burned badly. Ashes and chunks of what appeared to be curtains had floated to the ground. Emergency vehicles crowded the streets, which were closed to traffic.

The top floor of the hotel, which opened in 1996, contains numerous luxury suites and penthouses as well as a private lounge for those guests. It was not clear how many guests were staying at the hotel when the fire started.

Fire officials said damage estimates were not yet available. The Monte Carlo will not reopen until after building and fire inspectors have reviewed the resort, whose guests were being put up at sister properties owned by casino-hotel operator MGM Mirage.

The most serious fire at a Las Vegas hotel took place on the morning of Nov. 21, 1980, at the former MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. Eighty-seven people died from the blaze and almost 800 were injured. It was the deadliest fire in Nevada history and at the time was the second deadliest fire in U.S. history.


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