Published Tuesday, July 31, 2012 | 10 a.m.
Updated Tuesday, July 31, 2012 | 4:56 p.m.
Steve Duong and his family were staying on the 33rd floor of the Treasure Island Hotel early Tuesday when they smelled smoke coming from the bathroom.
Opening the hall door, Duong noticed smoke in the hallway. Leaving their luggage behind, the family from Frisco, Texas, rushed down to the hotel lobby moments before fire alarms sounded.
Clark County Fire Department investigators determined an accidental malfunction in the swamp cooler caused Tuesday morning's fire on the roof of the Treasure Island, Clark County spokeswoman Stacey Welling said late Tuesday afternoon. The unit caught fire and sent smoke into the hotel. Visible smoke was in the 36th floor, where most evacuations occurred. Some odor of smoke was detected on other floors, prompting some further evacuations as a precaution, Welling said.
Fourteen people were checked out by personnel on scene, mostly for minor smoke irritation issues, Welling said.
Michelle Knoll, vice president of communications at Treasure Island, said the hotel’s facilities personnel contacted firefighters and were working to control the smoke before firefighters arrived. The fire report initially prompted a two-alarm response – standard procedure, Welling said, for a fire in high-rise building – with 48 personnel on scene. Additional units were called to assist with the evacuations, and approximately 41 units and 90 personnel from the Clark County Fire Department and Las Vegas Fire & Rescue were at the hotel, along with Metro Police.
The fire was put out by 9:36 a.m., said Clark County Fire Chief Bertral Washington. Damage was estimated around $20,000.
Firefighters turned away people heading back to their rooms and evacuated people residing in rooms most impacted by the smoke, he said.
Washington said it was a challenge for firefighters making their way upstairs with all their equipment while hotel guests and visitors were heading down.
Linda McMullen was having breakfast with her husband at a Treasure Island restaurant when she heard the alarms go off. She recalled hearing an announcement that everything was going to be all right. Then she saw the firefighters.
“And I thought maybe everything wasn’t going to be all right,” said McMullen, in town from New Mexico.
Knoll said most guests were being allowed to return to their rooms. Guests whose rooms were on the west wing of the hotel’s 36th floor were being relocated to other rooms.
Meanwhile, Steve and Michelle Duong and their two children were trying to enjoy the next-to-last day of their stay in Las Vegas. Michelle Duong, though, said she was panicking and “thinking of 9/11,” referencing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Before heading back to their room, the Duong family decided to spend time touring the city.
“We’re just going around town in our pajammies,” Michelle Duong said.
Treasure Island, now known as TI to many, is a Strip casino and resort that features a tropical pool, a variety of restaurants and Las Vegas' first resident Cirque du Soleil show.
Before even entering the casino, Treasure Island treats visitors and Strip passersby with a raucous and free pirate show, "Sirens at TI," each evening in the lagoon in front of the property.
Inside, guests will find a 95,000-square-foot casino with thousands of slot machines, a race and sports book, a poker room and plenty of table games. Treasure Island boasts a variety of dining options, from unique barbecue at Gilley's, to Vietnamese at Pho, to Carribbean with flair at Kahunaville.
After dark, head over to Senor Frogs for nightlife "where anything can happen," or pick up tickets to the visually stunning "Mystere" by Cirque du Soleil.