Several people were hospitalized with minor injuries Saturday night in a fire at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, authorities said. The cause of the fire remained under investigation on Sunday.
Firefighters responded just before 8 pm Saturday to a report of smoke at the resort on the Las Vegas Strip. At the hotel-casino, firefighters discovered smoke in the hallway of the 51st floor and found a fire on a balcony in one of the rooms. The fire was extinguished.
Everyone on the 51st floor was evacuated. The Clark County Fire Department reported that “multiple patients” were taken to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.
Eyewitness Angelique Juarez told KLAS-TV the incident looked serious because of the number of fire trucks, ambulances, and police vehicles that “kept coming.”
“We noticed that they were going in through the side entrance, so we knew it was something bigger than just a standard emergency,” she said.
According to news reports, 10 fire engines and other emergency vehicles responded to the incident.
The Cosmopolitan is on the west side of the Strip, just south of the Bellagio. The Cosmopolitan’s hotel towers rise above the older Jockey Club at that site.
In 2015, a fire at the Cosmopolitan’s Bamboo Pool deck five stories above ground left two people with smoke inhalation injuries, according to NBC News. One person was hospitalized. Fire investigators said a fake palm tree was the source of the fire. The blaze was extinguished in about 30 minutes.
Also on the west side of the Strip, a fire last spring at the Excalibur led to an arson arrest.
Fires on the Las Vegas Strip call to mind previous incidents, including two deadly blazes in the 1980s that led to improved safety codes.
Earlier this month, KSNV-TV veteran reporter Tom Hawley noted that Feb. 10 marked the 40-year anniversary of a fire at the Las Vegas Hilton that killed eight people. His report aired in a “Video Vault” segment.
At the time, the resort just east of the Strip was the largest hotel in the world. The property now is the Westgate.
Singer Andy Williams and dancer Juliet Prowse had been performing in the showroom the night of the fire.
The thing that really terrified me was looking out the back door and seeing that whole east wing elevator shaft on fire, and people waving electric lamps out the window,” Williams said that night.
A $39-a-day busboy named Philip Bruce Cline later was found guilty of first-degree arson in case. Now 63, Cline is imprisoned at Southern Nevada Correctional Center, serving eight life terms without parole, Hawley reported.
Strict Fire Codes
The Hilton fire came only three months after a fire that killed 87 people and injured hundreds more at the MGM Grand on Nov. 21, 1980. That resort on the east side of the Strip is now named Bally’s Las Vegas. A new MGM Grand opened in 1993 farther south on the Strip, near McCarran International Airport.
The 1980 fire at the MGM Grand started in a kitchen and spread into the casino area.
The two deadly fires in the early 1980s led to improved sprinkler systems and other safety measures in hotels. State Sen. Joe Neal (D), who died late last year, was instrumental in passing legislation to safeguard hotels from deadly fires.
Hawley said there has not been another fire death in a Nevada high-rise hotel since February 1981 because of the “toughest codes in the nation.”
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