The hotel fire in Las Vegas that blacked the sky with smoke and consumed the fourteenth floor pool deck of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas hotel has been shared widely on social media. The fire, which caused no serious injuries, but did lead to two cases of smoke inhalation, didn't spread to the rest of the hotel. But it did serious damage to the pool deck, fueled by the fake palms and cabanas there. They were made of a plastic foam that one firefighter called "solid gasoline." An unknown number of guests were successfully evacuated.
Even with all that, the fire was thankfully contained in 45 minutes. The hotel is still open, but the two top floors are closed indefinitely. One question remains: what started the hotel fire in the first place?
Right now a specific cause is not known. The fire was known to have started in one of the cabanas. Preliminary investigations have indicated it might be a landscaping issue or an electrical fire from the strings of lights festooning the deck. At least one guest said they saw cigarette burn holes in the roof of one cabana, leaving a possibility that a cigarette butt may have ignited it. The cabanas were near above balconies. A cigarette butt could have also been thrown into a bush.
The Cosmopolitan Hotel is one of the luxury hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. In the past it has hosted celebrity guests such as Beyoncé and Jay Z. It boasts three pools as well as secret passageways and entrances. It has been open since 2010 and this year was placed on Condé Nast's Gold List of the best hotels in the world.
There have been three casino fires in Las Vegas in as many years. In 2014, a fire at a bar in the Monte Carlo Hotel injured one firefighter. In 2013, the abandoned Key Largo Casino caught fire. The cause of the 2013 fire was deemed arson, but the cause of the bar fire was never determined. The worst hotel fire in Vegas was the 1980 MGM Grand Hotel fire. In that case, an electrical fault started the fire in a closed area of the hotel restaurant. There were no fire sprinklers in the area, which caused the fire to grow immensely. More than 87 people died in the fire, mostly of smoke inhalation from smoke carried in the ventilation ducts. The fire prompted massive reviews to fire safety protocols in hotels in Las Vegas.
[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]