Saturday, Aug. 1, 1981 | 12:54 p.m.
Arson may have been the cause of a blaze that routed more than 200 guests from their rooms in the Sahara Hotel Friday night, fire department officials disclosed.
The fire broke out at 7:40 p.m. in a third floor suite in the hotel’s high rise tower.
Thick smoke poured from the room through the corridors and up four floors of the hotel, forcing the mass evacuation.
Two persons, both hotel guests, suffered smoke inhalation. Both were treated at the scene but only one, a woman, was taken by ambulance to Sunrise Hospital. She was later released.
Clark County Fire Department arson inspectors said the blaze was ``definitely suspicious’’ but declined to reveal what evidence of arson was found in the gutted suite.
A couple that had rented the room were in the casino playing slot machines when the fire broke out. They said they had no idea how the fire started.
The blaze was confined to the living room portion, but the adjoining bedroom sustained heavy smoke and water damage.
Firemen used large fans called smoke ejectors to clear the corridors of the acrid smoke.
All available Clark County Department units responded to the initial alarm. They were under the personal command of Fire Chief Roy Parrish who directed operations from a command post set up outside a new lobby and registration area at the southeast corner of the sprawling Strip resort property.
Guests milled about in the lobby area as firemen worked to clear the smoke from the corridors. A carnival atmosphere prevailed although fears were expressed jokingly about guests being trapped in high rise buildings.