Saturday, January 26, 2008

Monte Carlo - Money to Burn

Saturday's Leftovers

Meanwhile, back at the post: When we last met you, during the day of yester, the fire at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas blazed, the sky was falling, and plenty of tourists and locals were running around trying to get the best shot of the flames for posterity or to sell to Fox news or both. A fisheye look at some of the events that surrounded Blazing Battles follow.

First things first: The instant it was determined that an emergency existed, highly trained Monte Carlo employees flew into action starting with casino employees who battened down the hatches - which is to say they secured the moolah. Maids, security, and others who were on various floors went door to door knocking and opening to be sure all were being evacuated. Factoid: it is believed that at any given time some 20% of the hotel guests are asleep in this 24-hour town.

Shoo, shoo, all of you: Once the hotel was cleared of guests employees exited the property and effectively turned it over to the professionals - firefighters, police, and journalists. The firefighters from Fire Station #11 just down the street (Strip) arrived first, right at 11:00, along with police who were on routine patrol in the area. Since the hotel had been about 90% occupied including Miss America pageant contestants, several journalists from around the world happened to be there. Within minutes the local TV and radio stations as well as CNN, Fox News, and other national outlets were abuzz with "Fire in Las Vegas."

Obligatory coverage: Since it had a slow news day, the electronic equivalent of "EXTRA, EXTRA!" resonated throughout the airwaves and helicopter shots were followed by i-reporters shots and the airwaves were inundated with the story, giving TV its biggest boost since the writers strike began. This looked to be a really, really big story. Except that the fire burned itself out in a couple of hours without serious injury or loss of life - in fact no rooms were damaged, only the sign and facade on the roof. But coverage continued with some clever angles. A bride whose wedding dress was inside the hotel, birthday and anniversary celebrants who had partied all night and just gotten to bed, housekeepers who knocked on doors, and others who in the "Where were you when..." interviews made for excellent post-fire coverage.

Could have been worse: As the interviews waned the obligatory comparisons with former fires began to take over - the big one at the MGM Grand (now Ballys) in 1980 that killed 87 followed a few months later by and arson fire at the Hilton that killed 8 (the arsonist was convicted and sentenced to 8 life terms) and how changes have been made in high rise fire safety.

Bottom line: at this juncture it looks like Monte Carlo employees, firefighters, police all rehearsed and did their jobs well preventing any serious injuries. All guests were relocated and life in Las Vegas is back to abnormal.

A little blogging music Maestro...this will have to be Jerry Lee Lewis "Great Balls of Fire!"

Dr. Forgot

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