Saturday, January 26, 2008

Monte Carlo Miracle

My man DK v.1 mentioned this and so I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents on last Friday's fire at the Monte Carlo in Vegas. When a friend emailed me with the news and told me to turn on CNN, the first images that reached mine eyes were two large, black loom-ups hundreds of yards apart at the top of the building.

These columns of smoke were being fed by columns of bright orange fire, not a grey wisp of smoke in sight. Grey smoke = water on the fire. So, I immediately thought back to the MGM Grand and other disasters of the 1970s and 80s. Since the fire was clearly and quickly only burning the facade and rooms at the top of the hotel, I actually thought egress and evacuation wouldn't be a problem. It was mid-morning, off-peak in Vegas, so I didn't forsee hundreds of trapped folks like big Vegas fires of yore.

I did, however, expect the hotel-casino to burn intensely for many hours and the property to be seriously damaged. Therefore, I was duly impressed by the performance of the Clark County Fire Department that morning. They got lots of resources to the scene and up 32 flights of stairs to the roof extremely expeditiously.

When they had the fire darkened down in the better part of 45 minutes, I was even more surprised. Clearly, Las Vegas' stunningly rapid growth--and the concurrent growth of its county fire department--allowed for more fire suppression resources to be available than in years past.

When I was in paramedic school many years ago we lost a classmate after the second week to the literal siren's call of the CCFD. I assume, if he made it out of his probie year that he is at least an engineer there by now, if not a captain.

Anyway, good on the CCFD.

p.s. Their Web site is pretty slick, including an open incident CAD (cough, cough).

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