Sunday, January 27, 2008

Where There's Smoke, There's (no) Poker

Friday's three-alarm fire at the MGM Mirage's Monte Carlo did more than make a mess of the already snarly Strip traffic in Las Vegas, it closed the hotel and all casino gambling operations (including the MC's popular poker room) until further notice. Fortunately, this fire caused neither any injuries or deaths, though early reports suggested that the top four floors of the hotel were ablaze and dozens or even hundred of lives might be in peril.

Las Vegas, of course, saw one of the biggest hotel-fire tragedies in American history in 1980, when a huge fire at the old MGM Grand (now Bally's) claimed 87 lives and resulted in a nationwide overhaul of hotel fire codes and safety procedures. That 1980 blaze was the second deadliest in American hotel history, after one in Atlanta.

This blaze was not inside the upper-floor hotel rooms to any great degree, but was instead reportedly caused by welders working on the roof of the hotel. The fire quickly spead to the upper facade of the hotel, which consisted of some sort of foamy and highly flammable composite that then dripped down while ablaze, causing spot fires and contributing smoke and water damage, which was quite extensive. Some news reports have claimed that authorities have ordered that the entire facade be replaced in the wake of the fire.

In any event, both the hotel and the casino operations at the Monte Carlo have been suspended until further notice. It is likely that the casino operations will resume before the hotel itself reopens for business, and the hotel reopening itself coull possibly occur in stages. The Monte Carlo ranks roughly twelfth among all Vegas casinos for both casino space and hotel rooms, putting a small dent in the Vegas market, at least for the short term. In any event, if you were planning a near-future trip to Vegas specifically to stay or play at the Monte Carlo, you need to rework your plans.


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