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Abigail Goldman

Fire at Monte Carlo under control

25 January 2008

Firefighters report they have contained a blaze at the Monte Carlo casino in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.

Just before 11 a.m., smoke rolled off the top of the building and flames licked the Monte Carlo sign. Smoke and fire poured from windows four floors from the top of the 32-story building.

The top floors of the 3,200-room hotel were evacuated. The fire department reported no major injuries although scanner traffic indicated at least one person was being treated and medical personnel were arriving at the scene at noon.

Monte Carlo guests were being directed to several nearby hotels. Several hundred Monte Carlo employees were being fed and housed at the MGM Grand Arena.

A release from Clark County Fire at 11:56 a.m.:

  • "No major injuries reported at this time. The fire on the west wing is contained. The south wing is nearly contained.
  • "The fire is focused on the exterior.
  • "The building is nearly evacuated. Floors 15 and above have been evacuated entirely.
  • "On floors 15 and below, personnel are combing the floors to ensure everyone is out and obtain an accounting.
  • "Additionally, there were welders on the roof. The cause of the fire is not yet officially determined."

The Strip was closed from Tropicana to Harmon and I-15 northbound is backed up south of I-215 by noon, according to Sun reporter Mike Trask, who is at the scene.

A helicopter appeared to be trying to land on the roof of the hotel at 11:42 a.m., Trask reported.

But at nearby casinos, patrons drank pina coladas and watched the blaze on the TV. The Associated Press reported that gamblers continued playing on the Monte Carlo casino floor while the hotel was being evacuated.

Metro police confirmed there are people, perhaps employees, on the roof of the hotel. Police were getting set to shut off the gas lines at 11:50 a.m.

Debris rained down on the Strip. Many onlookers held cell phones out of their car windows trying to take pictures of the blaze.

From the fire department scanner: Crews were being sent to the 20th floor where spot fires were reported.

The fire at the Monte Carlo is currently classified as "three alarm" blaze and the casino and hotel are being evacuated. Fire officials have medical crews on standby to land on the roof of the Monte Carlo. Flamingo Road has been shut down near the casino. News helicopters are creating a downdraft on the fire, and police are trying to push them back from the scene.

The Clark County Fire Department posted a "fire in building" bulletin for 3770 S. Las Vegas Blvd. on the department's emergency log just before 11 a.m. this morning. TV stations are already dispatched to the scene, helicopters hovering.