Highrise ho­tel fire dark­ens Ve­gas Strip

Winnipeg Free Press - SundayXtra - - WORLD -

LAS VE­GAS — A fire at a highrise ho­tel swimming pool sent large plumes of black smoke high above the Las Ve­gas Strip but left most guests un­scathed Satur­day.

It took fire­fight­ers about 30 min­utes to gain con­trol of the blaze that broke out on the 14th floor of the Cos­mopoli­tan of Las Ve­gas ho­tel, Clark County fire Chief Greg Cas­sell said.

One per­son was taken to a hos­pi­tal with smoke in­hala­tion, fire of­fi­cials said. But no­body suf­fered any burns from the flames that ig­nited out­side on the pool deck, Clark County fire spokes­woman San­dra Baker said.

The fire was first re­ported around 12:15 p.m. with mul­ti­ple emer­gency calls com­ing in. The blaze quickly con­sumed pool ca­banas, chairs and fur­ni­ture, Cas­sell said. At least 110 fire­fight­ers were on the scene to not only bat­tle the fire, but help with evac­u­a­tions.

It’s not clear if any guests will be dis­placed by the fire, Cas­sell said. No flames made it into the ho­tel. How­ever, smoke got into some floors above the 14th floor be­cause the win­dows of some rooms were open. Fire­fight­ers are work­ing with ven­ti­la­tion per­son­nel to use tem­po­rary fans to get the smoke out.

It could be quite some time be­fore the cause of the fire is de­ter­mined, Cas­sell said. In­ves­ti­ga­tors are in­ter­view­ing guests and go­ing through cell­phone videos.

Julio Loredo of San Fran­cisco was in his room on the 33rd floor of the neigh­bour­ing Vdara ho­tel when his room started to darken. “We looked out the win­dow, and there was ash hit­ting our win­dow,” Loredo said.

He then looked out a hall­way win­dow, where he saw guests flee­ing the Cosm­poli­tan pool deck.

“Peo­ple were run­ning. We could see small ex­plo­sions,” Loredo said. “It was in less than a minute that it was com­pletely en­gulfed.”

He also saw peo­ple run­ning out of the ho­tel doors and onto the Strip. “I’ve never seen any­thing like it be­fore. It was un­be­liev­able,” Loredo said.

The fire also shut down streets around the Strip for sev­eral hours, and a few re­mained closed on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

STEVE MAR­CUS/ LAS VE­GAS SUN / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Smokes bil­lows from a fire on the out­side pool area

of the Cos­mopoli­tan of Las Ve­gas ho­tel- casino.

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