Following a study ordered by the Clark County Development Services’ Building Division, the Monte Carlo Casino, and Resort in Las Vegas was instructed to work with a Nevada-registered fire protection engineer to determine how to address parts of the building's façade that were treated with a non-fireproofed lamina.

“We wanted to examine the totality of the incident and we needed to determine if any of the materials contributed or exacerbated the spread of the fire because they clearly didn't cause it,” Ron Lynn, director of development for Clark County, told CPN. “Having found that there are some relatively minor discrepancies that need to be addressed including a lamina that wasn’t fireproofed.”

Baltimore-based Hughes Associates Inc. prepared a report for the Clark County Development Services’ building division to assist in determining the materials that were involved in the fire and their role. According to fire investigators, the fire was started on the roof as workers used a hand-held torch to cut some metal.

Based on tests and analysis by MVA Scientific Consultants, the lamina in some areas is approximately one to two millimeters thinner than it should be and some decorative elements do not have lamina encasing the foam. Lamina is an exterior coating that is made of a basecoat, a layer of fiberglass mesh, and a top finishing coat, according to the report.

The thin lamina of the EIFS does not comply with manufacturer guidelines, as required by code. These issues may affect the durability of these elements but, unlike the use of non-approved resin or other coatings, did not exacerbate the fire. Tests on the foam showed it was fire retardant, as required, according to information provided by Clark County.

The analysis also revealed that the wrong kind of resin or coatings were used on two decorative bands. The resin used there is more flammable than the approved coatings used elsewhere on the building. This played no role in how the fire started, but affected how quickly the fire spread after it reached the decorative bands. In a similar manner, other coating systems were used that also affected how quickly the fire spread.

“There is no reason to believe that any other structure used this paint and it was only in the one location on the building,” Lynn said. “We want to know if any additional precautions need to be taken with this lamina since we have a dry and hot arid climate.”

Because of these findings, the county is requiring MGM Mirage Corp. to hire a Nevada-registered fire protection engineer to recommend how to address the issues noted in the analysis, Dan Kulin, a Clark County spokesman, told CPN. Although it is too early to say exactly what the recommendations may be, they could range from painting certain areas to replacing some decorative pieces.

“We will immediately look into county’s findings. Per the county’s direction, we will engage a certified analyst to further examine the materials in question. We will submit any recommendations to the county to discuss mitigation, if necessary. The Monte Carlo was built 16 years ago by a previous owner, so we may be able to take advantage of new construction techniques that were unavailable in 1992,” according to a statement released by MGM Mirage.

Some rooms on the upper two floors-the high roller suites-are still under renovation, but should be open by the end of the year, Gordon M. Absher vice president of public affairs for MGM Mirage, told CPN.

“Prior to the fire, we had scheduled a complete renovation from head to toe and this simply accelerated the renovations for our high roller suites. Most of the rooms impacted by the fire are already back in inventory,” he added.

The hotel has 3,002 guest rooms and opened in 1996 at an original cost of $344 million. A $19 million room renovation was completed in August 2004.

Hughes Associates Inc. is a global fire protection and engineering company with consultants, engineers, and fire investigators specializing in fire-testing, fire modeling, and fire protection design.