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December 18, 2018

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Damage from Bellagio fire estimated at up to $450,000

Bellagio Fire

John Locher / AP

People look at fire damage at the Bellagio casino and resort, Friday, April 14, 2017, in Las Vegas. A fire official says a late Thursday blaze damaged decorative facing on the roof of a shopping and restaurant annex at the resort on the Las Vegas Strip.

Updated Friday, April 14, 2017 | 2:38 p.m.

Tourists taking in a show of the Bellagio Fountains late Thursday witnessed a fiery backdrop, as firefighters battled a blaze on the roof of a shopping area at the Strip resort that caused up to $450,000 in damage.

Clark County fire officials received reports about 10:45 p.m. of flames at the lakeside property, and the fire was extinguished by 11:09 p.m., Assistant Fire Chief Larry Haydu said.

Nobody was injured, officials said.

Haydu said the location of the blaze made it difficult for the responding 10 fire engines and 77 fire personnel to access.

Fire damage, estimated at $400,000 to $450,000, was confined to the roof, while the interior of the building was unscathed, officials said. The fire damaged decorative facing along the roof, Haydu said.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, but investigators are focusing on exterior electrical and lighting systems, officials said.

MGM Resorts International spokeswoman Yvette Monet said the retail area was evacuated, but operations weren't interrupted at the posh casino and hotel with nearly 4,000 rooms.

The retail area has high-end stores like Tiffany & Co. and Chanel, and celebrity restaurants line the fountain lake. Damage was mostly above a Starbucks, and the shops and restaurants were open on Friday, Monet said.

A tourist said the Bellagio fountains sprayed and the "Pink Panther Theme" played while firefighters battled the flames.

Sean Kim of Los Angeles said Friday that he and his friends initially thought the fire was part of the iconic fountain show.

He shot cellphone video from the sidewalk while gusty winds whipped flames across the roof of the Via Bellagio shops.

Kim said he realized something was wrong when plastic-smelling smoke began to billow, police started evacuating people from the shopping area and melting building material dripped fireballs toward the fountain lake.

Metro Police Lt. Carlos Hank said officers assisted with traffic and pedestrian safety, closing the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road to traffic for about an hour.

One lane of Las Vegas Boulevard reopened by about 12:15 a.m.

It wasn't immediately clear if the building material that caught fire at the Bellagio was the same type that burned in a January 2008 fire atop the Monte Carlo a few blocks away, Haydu said.

That fire was sparked by welders on the roof and forced the evacuation about 6,000 guests and employees and caused more than $100 million in damage and lost business at the 3,000-room resort.

Investigators found an improper type of resin had been used in two decorative elements near the top of the 32-story hotel, which caused the fire to spread faster than expected along the roof and facade. Some upper-floor rooms received water and smoke damage.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.