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Kimberly De La Cruz

Strict fire codes kept Cosmo fire in check, county officials say

28 July 2015

Clark County officials credit strict building codes for helping to prevent the spread of flames at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas' rooftop pool Saturday afternoon.

"Clark County's building and fire codes are among the most stringent in the nation," the county wrote in a prepared statement Monday.

Those codes also govern poolside cabanas, said county spokeswoman Stacey Welling, with rules including size limits, distance between cabanas, where cabanas can be located and automatic sprinkler systems.

The county requires cabanas to be made of non-combustible materials and placed at least 20 feet away from any fuel-fired equipment.

But Welling said there are no local or national codes related to outdoor decorations like the artificial landscaping that surrounded the 14th-floor Bamboo Pool, which Clark County fire department spokesman Greg Cassell likened to "liquid gasoline."

Witnesses at the scene reported that the fire seemed to begin in or around a cabana. Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the blaze, officials said Monday.

Evidence as of Sunday showed the fire was accidental, possibly ignited by an electrical problem, fire department spokeswoman Sandra Baker said.

The fire started about 12:15 p.m. and was extinguished in under 30 minutes. Though the blaze produced tall flames and thick black smoke, it never penetrated the 61-story West End tower of the hotel-casino.

"These codes, combined with the professional efforts of our firefighters, worked to keep the fire contained primarily to the outdoor areas of the building, with the exception of one lanai located on the pool deck that sustained some fire damage," the county release said.

The pool area, with the exception of the bar, was reopened at 10 a.m. Sunday, less than 24 hours after the blaze began.