The Clark County Building department hired Hughes & Associates to investigate the cause and resultant damage of the fire that occurred on January 25 on the upper floor of the Monte Carlo Hotel/Casino. The fire was caused by a welder on the roof as hot slag was allowed to smolder and eventually catch fire. The welder failed to install required safety shields. Regardless of the fault or failure to follow the recommendations of OSHA, accidents do happen and it is how the building performed during and after the accident that should be examined.

The fire spread slowly across the face of the building giving the hotel time to safely evacuate and firefighters time to stop the flames. The layer of gypsum sheathing provided a fire resistive barrier for the framing and occupants. There was no panic by the guests or hotel employees. Thirteen people reported minor injuries and no firefighters were injured. The fire lasted about one hour and was contained to a relatively small portion of the hotel.

Investigations and material analysis by MVA Scientific Consultants showed a few non-compliant issues were found with the exterior cladding. The large foam decorative band had a thin flammable resin coating that allowed the fire to spread faster than would be expected. The EIFS had a code compliant non-combustible lamina that was applied slightly thinner than per manufacturer’s recommendations. The report concluded that while this may have an effect on durability against the elements, it would have had no effect on the spread of the fire. Tests further showed the foam used was fire retardant as required by code. None of the issues discovered during material analysis played a role in how the fire started. The report concluded that the January 25 fire demonstrated the effectiveness of Clark County’s fire-safety regulations and building codes.