Blaze Checks Games in Gambling Casino
First major fire on the fabulous Las Vegas, Nev., glittering gambling strip was battled successfully on the evening of Sunday, August 14, by firemen from Clark County and Las Vegas Fire Departments.
More than 400 persons who had just been seated for the dinner show at the El Rancho Vegas—the first of the Strip hotels to be built just before World II —left their tables in an orderly fashion as a fire, which started in the hotel’s kitchen, spread to the Opera House dining room.
The fire, which originated in the flue over the huge broiler, spread to the roof and began eating through the walls to the main dining room when the audience began to leave.
Early estimates of the damage to the kitchen, roof, and walls was $250,000.
The two companies of the newly formed Clark County Fire Department, under Chief William Trelease, were immediately summoned, but were unable to completely control the fire.
Request was sent to the city of Las Vegas for assistance. Since no mutual aid agreement exists between the county and city, Chief Elmer Gates of L.V.F.D. contacted the city manager, who granted permission for the assistance.
Chief Gates then responded with an engine, truck, and rescue unit, and the combined fire fighting forces controlled the fire.
Three persons were taken to Southern Nevada Memorial Hospital after being overcome by smoke.
Croupiers and dealers quickly and calmly closed up gaming tables in the adjacent casino and transferred chips and currency to the hotel’s fireproof safe.
Owner Beldon Katleman said the casino section of the building would be opened the next day as soon as wiring was checked.