Fire forces guests, gamblers to flee hotel

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A fire on the roof of the Monte Carlo hotel-casino forced guests and gamblers to flee and sent flaming embers raining down on the Las Vegas Strip, but firefighters quickly gained control of the blaze. No serious injuries were reported.

The midmorning fire spread across the rooftop facade, made of a foam building material. Orange flames lapped at the 32-story hotel’s name in large script.

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 was hurt.

“It could have been very serious,” Clark County Fire Chief Steve Smith said. “Due to the aggressive firefighting tactics of our personnel, we were able to contain it.”

Strict fire codes were adopted for Las Vegas resorts since a 1980 fire killed 87 people down the street from the Monte Carlo at the old MGM Grand hotel, now the Bally’s Las Vegas.

Smith said it was too early to assess damage or say what caused Friday’s fire, which began just before 11 a.m. and was under control in about an hour. There was no immediate indication of criminal activity or arson, but “nothing is ruled out at this time,” Smith said.

Clark County spokesman Erik Pappa said county officials were told welders were working on the roof of the building before the fire.

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.

Employees went door-to-door evacuating the hotel, said Gordon Absher, a spokesman for the resort’s owner, MGM Mirage Inc. The fire chief said no one had to be rescued.

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