Monte Carlo Casino Fire
Monte Carlo Casino Fire Victim Lawsuits
Monte Carlo Casino Fire | Lawsuits, Lawyers | Injuries, Damages | Firefighters, Guests, Gamblers, Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS -- Guests and gamblers fled a smoky rooftop fire at the Monte Carlo hotel-casino Friday as flaming embers rained down on the Las Vegas Strip below. It took firefighters about an hour to control the three-alarm blaze at the 32-story hotel.
Clark County Fire Chief Steve Smith said there were no major injuries. An ambulance company spokeswoman said 17 people were taken to area hospitals with minor injuries, mostly from inhaling smoke or from fleeing the building.
None of the 120 firefighters who fought the blaze were hurt. "It could have been very serious," Smith said. "Due to the aggressive firefighting tactics of our personnel we were able to contain it."
He said it was too early to assess damages or say what caused the fire, which began just before 11 a.m. There was no immediate indication of criminal activity or arson, but investigators were looking at all possible causes, he said. Nothing is ruled out at this time," Smith said.
Orange flames licked at the hotel's sign and plumes of thick black smoke poured from the rooftop of the resort. Tourists and residents watched the high-rise fire nervously, perhaps remembering the deadly fire nearly 30 years earlier at what was then the MGM Grand hotel. Smith called the Monte Carlo blaze an exterior fire, which was largely confined to the rooftop and the facade of the upper floors. The facade was made of a foam material that "melted off the side of the building and started a few fires below," Smith said.
Some rooms were damaged when firefighters knocked out hotel room windows, and flames and smoke from outside rushed in, Smith said. Heat and smoke may have set off alarms and sprinklers inside the building, Smith said.
He said the blaze was fought from inside the building, not with ladder trucks. The fire, spread from the center section of the hotel across the roof line. Clark County spokesman Eric Pappa said county officials were told welders were working on the roof of the building before the fire, but reports of workers trapped on the roof were incorrect.
Floors 25 to 32 were immediately evacuated, and lower parts of the hotel were still being cleared about 90 minutes later. We've gone door to door evacuating the hotel," said Gordon Absher, spokesman for the hotel owner, MGM Mirage Inc. "The casino is closed and secured.
Larry Wappel, 25, of San Pierre, Ind., said he and his brother, Eric Wappel, were in a room on the 30th floor when they heard housekeeping staff banging on doors and yelling "Fire, get out!"
He said it took about 10 minutes to walk single-file down the stairs to get to ground level. Wappel said there was no panic. "There were a couple of ladies crying, but it was pretty calm," he said.
Another guest, Renza Badilla, 45, said she exited through the hotel kitchen to find burning debris and embers falling from the roof. I think people were shocked when they saw the smoke," said Badilla, who said she was in the buffet on the main casino level when fire alarms sounded.
"We thought the fire alarms were just drills. But the wait staff and kitchen staff were really helpful getting us out through the kitchen," she said. Guests were taken to the MGM Grand Garden Arena, and employees were evacuated to the adjacent New York-New York hotel, Absher said. Hotel officials said guests would be moved to other MGM Mirage hotels in Las Vegas. They estimated the hotel was almost full and about 900 workers were on duty when the fire began.
As the fire burned, huge crowds formed on the Las Vegas Strip, and traffic was gridlocked as streets were blocked off around the hotel. Helicopters circled overhead. The nearby resorts, Bellagio and New York New York were not evacuated. The Monte Carlo Resort & Casino, with 3,002 guest rooms and 211 suites in its upper floors, is on Las Vegas Boulevard, near Tropicana Avenue.
The hotel, modeled after the Place du Casino in Monte Carlo, Monaco, was a joint venture between Steve Wynn's Mirage Resorts and Circus Circus Enterprises when it opened in June 1996. It is now owned by MGM Mirage Inc. and is planned to be linked by a monorail that will connect it to the CityCenter casino complex and Bellagio to the north.
The Monte Carlo is down the street from the scene of Nevada's deadliest fire, a Nov. 21, 1980, blaze that killed 87 people at the old MGM Grand hotel and led to strict fire codes in Las Vegas resorts. That hotel was rebuilt and sold in 1985 and renamed Bally's. It is now owned by Harrah's Entertainment Inc. The cause of the deadly fire was traced to an electrical malfunction in a refrigerated pastry case in the hotel deli.
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