Last updated: 07:17 PM ET, Sat July 25 2015

Fire at Las Vegas Strip Hotel

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | July 25, 2015

Fire at Las Vegas Strip Hotel

Photo via Twitter/ccyr17

Heavy plumes of black smoke arose from the Las Vegas Strip Saturday afternoon from a fire at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas hotel, the Associated Press reported.

The blaze, reported around 12:15 p.m. local time, erupted at the 14th floor Bamboo Pool deck, engulfing cabanas and trees.

Clark County Fire Chief Greg Cassell told the AP it took firefighters about a half-hour to bring the fire under control, and that one person was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

Cassell said the hotel was evacuated, but it is unknown whether guests will now have to stay elsewhere.

The cause of the conflagration is under investigation, but a witness who was on the Bamboo Pool deck when the fire started told the Las Vegas Sun that employees think a cigarette was the culprit. It could have been discarded from a top floor or tossed into a bush on the pool deck.

Whatever the case, the witness told the Sun the fire spread "ridiculously fast." In less than a minute from when it first started, half the cabanas around the pool were in flames.

Clark County spokeswoman Sandra Baker said Clark County Fire Department crews along with Las Vegas Fire & Medical crews played a part in getting things under control, putting out the fire, clearing smoke and making sure the flames hadn’t spread.

Las Vegas Boulevard South was closed from Tropicana Avenue to Flamingo Road from 12:45 to around 1:30 p.m. Harmon Avenue west of Las Vegas Boulevard remained closed, but may reopen at any time.

Christopher Thomas, a tourist from Denver visiting with friends, told the Sun he was in the shower near the Bamboo Pool just before the blaze, and then went to his room to change. A short time later, he saw billowing black smoke from his 20th floor accommodations. "I dropped everything and fled the room," he said.

Thomas said to the Sun he was shocked at the lack of alarms, and that he attempted to locate an alarm to pull as a warning to other guests.

He witnessed people running and panicking as they evacuated down the stairs. "It was one of those things were I thought, 'Drop everything and get the hell out,'" Thomas told the Sun.

Commenting on the blaze, Cosmopolitan tweeted, “We can confirm that the fire at Bamboo Pool has been put out with no serious injuries. Guest & CoStar (employee) safety is our first priority.”

Nevada governor Brian Sandoval tweeted a comment as well, praising the courage of the first responders.

Noting other major Las Vegas Strip fires, the Sun said the Cosmopolitan’s incident occurred more than seven years after the facade and upper floors of the Monte Carlo erupted in flames, doing an estimated $80 million in damage. Additionally, in 1980, a fire at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino killed 87 and injured 700.

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