Air Conditioner Fire Sends Smoke Into Vegas Hotel

By KEN RITTER | August 2, 2012

Medics checked 14 people for respiratory irritation Tuesday after a rooftop air conditioner fire sent smoke into upper floors of a Las Vegas Strip resort, but authorities said no one was hospitalized and no serious injuries were reported.

A top-floor wing where smoke was heaviest was evacuated as firefighters responded to the 9 a.m. fire atop the 36-story Treasure Island resort, Clark County spokeswoman Stacey Welling said. The fire was quickly doused, and damage was reported to be minor.

Hotel spokeswoman Michelle Knoll said 35 rooms on the 36th floor were evacuated, but some guests on other floors also made their way down stairs as alarms sounded. Casino play was not affected, and other parts of the 2,880-room hotel were not evacuated.

Knoll disputed county fire reports that the hotel ventilation system sent smoke into areas from the 24th to 36th floors.

Welling said more than 90 Clark County and Las Vegas firefighters responded to the two-alarm fire at the hotel on the corner of Spring Mountain Road and Las Vegas Boulevard. The county spokeswoman called the response standard for a high-rise hotel.

Las Vegas and Clark County hotels adhere to strict fire codes enacted following two deadly high-rise hotel fires on the Las Vegas Strip more than 30 years ago.

The MGM Grand hotel blaze in November 1980 killed 87 people and was the nation’s second-deadliest fire at the time. An arson fire at the Las Vegas Hilton nearly three months later killed eight people.

Tuesday’s fire recalled a blaze in January 2008 that burned the facade of the Monte Carlo resort, not far from the Treasure Island. Seventeen people were treated for minor injuries and smoke inhalation during that fire, which forced the evacuation of about 6,000 guests and employees. The fire was blamed on a rooftop welding accident.

Automatic sprinklers quelled a March 15 fire in a 25-story tower at the downtown Golden Nugget casino that caused little damage but injured a man whom firefighters rescued from a smoke-choked room on the unoccupied 22nd floor. The man, Jerod Pressnell, pleaded guilty in May to misdemeanor conspiracy to commit arson. He was freed for time served after 25 days in a hospital and 28 days in jail.

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