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Antonio Planas

Workers deployed: Fire repairs started at Monte Carlo

28 January 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Hundreds of contract workers were deployed to the Monte Carlo to repair floors damaged Friday by a fire contained to the upper levels of the 32-story hotel, a spokesman with the MGM Mirage said.

Gordon Absher with the MGM Mirage said contractors began working in earnest Sunday and were repairing ceilings and rooms that sustained heavy water or smoke damage. Absher also said about 200 Monte Carlo employees were on the property preparing the undamaged rooms for when the hotel will reopen to the public.

He said that date has yet to be determined.

"We need to develop a plan and a timeline, and we're in the midst of that right now," Absher said.

Hundreds more contract workers will come to the property today to continue the repair effort, Absher said.

Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin says fire officials are still waiting for the company to remove or secure the burned exterior facade along the roof to prevent debris from falling down.

The fire, which began near the top of the hotel just before 11 a.m., took firefighters more than an hour to extinquish. Firefighters attacked the flames with their hoses by standing on the roof and by hanging out of hotel rooms windows. Highly flammable construction foam on the building's facade fueled the flames.

About 5,000 guests and 1,000 employees evacuated from the Strip casino during the blaze. Hotel officials said floors 27 through 32 sustained the most damage. At least 13 people were treated for smoke inhalation.

Absher and a county official said the cause of the fire remained unknown. Absher did not know the cost of the damaged floors.

Guests staying on the 26th floor or below were first allowed into the hotel to retrieve their belongings starting late Friday. This process continued through the weekend. Absher said guests from fewer than 100 rooms had yet to reclaim their belongings by Sunday afternoon. Starting today, the Monte Carlo will confirm addresses and begin shipping all remaining unclaimed personal belongings of guests to their homes.

Absher said he didn't know how much the Monte Carlo was losing in revenue every day it wasn't open, but that it wasn't much.

"It's not accurate to paint it as if we're losing money every day because we have insurance," Absher said.

He added that all the guests who were staying at the hotel during the time of the evacuation were booked into other MGM Grand properties including Treasure Island and Mandalay Bay.

Monte Carlo employees will continue to get full pay and benefits until the property reopens to the public, Absher said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.