The Cosmopolitan hotel-casino’s rooftop pool deck caught fire on Saturday, July 25, with fake palm trees and high winds feeding the blaze.
Two individuals were treated for smoke inhalation, Las Vegas authorities said. The fire was put out in 30 minutes, after about 100 personnel from the nearby fire station responded with 13 engines and four trucks.
The fake palm trees were made out of a polystyrene foam material and were highly flammable. Investigators are still trying to determine how the trees caught fire.
Clark County Battalion Chief Leo Durkin told ABC News that string lights were hung on the trees, but officials have yet to determine whether the cause of the fire was electrical.
While Las Vegas has strict building codes that require cabanas to be fire retardant, there are no restrictions on the landscaping around pools or the patio furniture used.
Had the faux palm trees been inside the casino, they would have been inspected by county regulators. If investigators conclude the fire was greatly affected by the foam trees, local officials say they’ll consider changing fire code regulations.
“Once the fire went up the trees – went out, those fronds dripped flaming balls that now caught the other chairs on fire and more trees and that’s how it spread so fast,” Clark County Fire Chief Greg Cassell told News3LV. “This was our first experience with a palm tree – fake palm tree burning. We’ve never had this in a scenario in a training class.”
The only other recent fire involving foam material in the Las Vegas area was in 2008, when the Monte Carlo’s façade near the roof caught fire after a welder dropped bits of molten metal on the eaves. The blaze caused close to $100 million in damage.