Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Las Vegas Part Two - The Monte Carlo Hotel Fire

..."Wa Wa Wa (alarm) and a slightly muffled announcement" and panic from all the waiters then back to normal. This turned out to be a fire alarm and the muffled announcement said "We have an incident under investigation" (you know like when a car jumps the start in F1). The waiters then came back in and decided to usher out everyone in the restaurant. Kate, Trish and I went out the an office behind the kitchen and stood at the side of the side road at the side of the hotel to see plumes of black smoke coming from the hotel. Oh it was a fire alarm then, and indeed it was a real fire!

Soon we had to make our way onto The Strip and then onto the median and then onto the other side of the road. Gradually members of our party got out and joined us more out of luck than judgement as flames could be seen rising from above the building. At this time some of our party (the 7am ers) were still in bed on the 20th floor and only told to get out by people ringing them from England saying the hotel was on fire watching it on Sky News!

When everyone was out and the flames had begun to die down I started to regret not having my phone or my camera on me so the picture is just a picture of the hotel a few days after. There's plenty pictures and videos on Google/(maybe Facebook)/YouTube if you want proper footage.

We then met up with the rest of the party (about 30 of us) outside a Mexican restaurant/bar named La Salsa (not a strip club).We went inside to see our hotel burning on 2 tv news channels so had a drink and watched it. We met a man at the bar who was about to check out but had his luggage on the 5th floor and was unable to retrieve it. He would miss his flight out of town but hopefully he got home ok eventually. The ticker on the bottom of the screen informed us that we should make our way to the MGM Grand hotel down the road to register our names and get ourselves into a new hotel.

After a bit of waiting around and viewing the impressive arena where Ricky Hatton lost his recent fight we were transferred to Luxor, a pyramid shaped Egyptian themed hotel. This was to be where 28 of the 32 of the party would stay for the rest of the holiday. We were allowed back in to collect our luggage at 9pm the same night but had to be escorted to our rooms by members of staff.

It turns out that the fire was caused by Welders installing a new window cleaning system on the room had dropped hot ash which set fire to the foam facia of the hotel which burned. There was minimal damage to the inside and only floors 27 to 32 were affected. No one in our party had any damage to luggage as we were all lower down. The hotel is to partly reopen on 15th February and open up to floor 26 i think it is a week later. 13 people had smoke related injuries but without the amazing work of the Clark County Fire Department it could have been a lot worse. I do feel the evacuation procedure left something to be desired with the alarm not staying on permanently, cleaners thinking it was a drill, poker players continuing playing until they saw it burning on tv, and lifts still being available for use. However they were evacuating from the top down as this was where the most danger was and everything ended up fine in the end so I guess alls well that ends well.

It was sad to have to leave there after only 24 hours but the holiday went on...


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