Players evacuated the El Cortez Casino Sunday afternoon after smoke broke out. There were no injuries.
The smoke was seen from the ceiling of the casino floor, KSNV, a local TV station, reported.
The incident may have been caused by a malfunction with the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, firefighters said. Employees suspected it may have been from a faulty air conditioning belt, KSNV reporter Brett Forrest said in a tweet.
We were playing dice and it was just a little bit of smoke for a minute or two and then it escalated very quickly,” one player, James Call, was quoted by KSNV. “Dealers locked the tables and quickly rushed everyone out.”
Firefighters responded quickly. The casino doors were opened to air out the casino floor. Fans were turned on, too.
Doors are open at El Cortez and fans are running to blow out smoke. You can still see and smell it. Overheard staff saying it might have been an AC belt. Fireman on street said he thinks it was HVAC related too pic.twitter.com/iWhmDzyZRH
— Brett Forrest (@brettforrest89) July 25, 2022
Another player reported it interrupted his craps game.
Playing craps in El Cortez and then all of a sudden the place is catching on fire,” @PatrickE_Vegas tweeted.
El Cortez is Las Vegas’ oldest existing casino. It is located in downtown on East Fremont Street.
El Cortez has gone adults-only. From April 1, El Cortez transitioned to a 21-and-older property.
All guests booking hotel rooms have to be 21 years of age or older, with valid state-issued identification. There are age verification checks at every entrance. The entire property, including all food and beverage outlets, are off-limits to under 21s.
In February 2021, El Cortez also opened a high-limit room. A highlight of the room is a wall-sized photo of the El Cortez neon sign.
In an effort to curb violent crime nearby, at the Fremont Street Experience (FSE) weekend crowds in the area now go through metal detectors, have their bags checked, and have IDs screened.
The new safeguards include a limited weekend curfew on those under 21 years of age. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) has also upped its presence on and around Fremont on weekends.
New Fire Chief
On Wednesday, the Las Vegas City Council approved Fernando Gray as the new chief of the Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Department.
Gray began as a firefighter/paramedic in Dallas, Texas. He was a driver engineer, lieutenant, budget and administration officer, EMS shift duty officer, captain, training officer, battalion chief, deputy chief, assistant fire chief of operations, and chief of staff for the department.
Then, Gray was fire chief in Aurora, Colo. for five years. He graduated from the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program. He also received a bachelor’s degree in criminal science from Texas A & M University and a master’s degree in public administration from Sam Houston State University. He also attended Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education advanced program.
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