Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009 | 6:34 p.m.
Six of the most exclusive rooms at CityCenter opened Thursday with a special ceremony.
But no matter how much you are willing to pay – or gamble – you can’t stay in them. They are for firefighters.
The massive new development on the Strip is home to Clark County’s newest fire station, No. 32.
The station houses a fire engine and a paramedic rescue unit that will respond to calls from CityCenter, which eventually will have more than 7,000 hotel rooms and condominiums, as well as neighboring resorts.
“Fire Station 32 is a critical public asset as it’s located in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip and will greatly assist the department with our responses along the resort corridor,” said Fire Chief Steve Smith.
The fire department expects the station to become one of the busiest in the county, even though it is a 5,700-square-foot building tucked into the side of Vdara off Harmon Avenue. Most new stations are more than 10,000 square feet on open land.
On Monday, the first day the station was staffed, firefighters responded to more than 30 emergency calls.
“It doesn’t look like they are really going to be here that often to enjoy the quarters,” Smith said.
The rooms are small and simple, but the facility has new equipment.
The station was built and equipped by MGM Mirage at a cost of $28 million as part of the company’s agreement with the county to build CityCenter.
“During the developer agreement process we recognized that there would be a high volume of calls that would come into this area and we also looked into the surrounding stations and they already had a high run volume,” Smith said.
Without the new station, Smith said the response time in the area would have climbed to 10 minutes, more than the seven-minute goal the department has for responding to emergency calls.
The station is the department’s first on a resort’s property.
“Like most of CityCenter it raises the bar of what is going to be required of future developments,” said Bobby Baldwin, CityCenter's president and chief executive officer. “We want to make sure that the resort corridor is as safe as it possibly can be. In some cases buildings are so big and so huge and there are so many employees and customers involved that the quicker the response time the better, and in order to accomplish that you may have to build your own fire and rescue station.”
Baldwin joked during the ceremony that for him, the station fulfilled the dream many young boys have: to have a fire truck.
“I finally got two of them,” he said during the dedication. “I’m 59 but I finally got ‘em. I didn’t know they were going to cost $28 million, but who cares?”
But the station is just one part of the development’s fire prevention and response plan, which was developed with help from the fire department, Baldwin said.
“The design of these buildings is in close collaboration with the fire department,” he said. “They are actively involved in everything we do in order to make CityCenter safe.”
Medical calls make up more than 75 percent of the department’s calls, Smith said.
The fire station also will serve other resorts in the area and will help relieve the burden on other stations, freeing crews to respond to residential calls when needed, Smith said.