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July 23, 2018

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Fake trees that fueled Cosmopolitan fire aren’t regulated by county codes

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Bamboo Pool at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is shown after a fire burned decorative palm trees Saturday, July 25, 2015, on the Strip.

Cosmopolitan Fire

A fire broke out Saturday, July 25, 2015, at the Cosmopolitan. The blaze was at the Bamboo Pool on the casino's rooftop. Launch slideshow »

The decorative trees that rapidly burned in a fire at one of the Cosmopolitan’s pools this weekend are not regulated by Clark County codes, a county official said today.

Ron Lynn, director of the county’s Department of Building and Fire Prevention, told reporters that current codes govern physical structures such as pool decks and cabanas, but plants and outdoor furnishings are not covered.

Fake palm trees around the Cosmopolitan’s Bamboo Pool quickly caught fire when a blaze broke out around 12:15 p.m. Saturday. The fire began in a cabana before spreading to the fake trees, which were made from plastic and high-density foam, Fire Chief Greg Cassell said at the time.

“These palm trees, which are decorative … by nature, they can be added and subtracted without our awareness,” Lynn said today. “As long as typically they maintain the exit provisions, our concerns, or our ability to deal with them, is limited.”

County officials are still working to pinpoint the exact cause of the fire. Lynn stressed that it’s too early to focus exclusively on one particular area, but he said officials will look at the role the trees played in the fire, and he suggested that new rules could be needed to control their use.

Although the decorative items aren’t currently regulated, Lynn said cabanas aren’t allowed to have any open flames, such as from grills or other cooking appliances. He said the county will look into whether a violation of that rule contributed to the fire as well.

There may be multiple factors behind the blaze, he said.

“We are conducting our investigation. We’ll be taking material samples; we’ll be interviewing people to determine if there were some operational irregularities,” Lynn said. “It’s not uncommon that, when adverse conditions occur, it’s more than one cause.”

One person was hospitalized for smoke inhalation and one person was treated at the scene Saturday. The fire was extinguished within about 30 minutes, and the Cosmopolitan said Sunday that the Bamboo Pool reopened at 10 a.m. with all but its West Bar in full service. The area affected by the fire was walled off while the fire department investigation was underway, according to the resort.

The resort declined to comment any further on the fire today.

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