|By Howard Stutz, Las Vegas
Review-JournalMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jan. 19, 2010--The first lawsuit associated with the January 2008 fire at the Monte Carlo has been filed by a Florida resident who claims she suffered permanent injuries due to smoke inhalation associated with the spectacular early-morning roof-top blaze.
The Las Vegas-based attorney for Jean Bartoli, who was staying at the hotel when the fire broke out, said the Monte Carlo's alarm systems worked, but his client was evacuated to an area of the hotel where guests were subjected to smoke from the fire.
"She was put into an area not on the ground floor, but where there was still heavy smoke," said Robert Cottle, who filed the lawsuit in Clark County District Court on Jan. 11. "Her doctor's opinion was the smoke caused permanent lung damage."
Bartoli, 62, who lives in Plantation, Fla., is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 from MGM Mirage, which owns the Monte Carlo.
MGM Mirage spokeswoman Yvette Monet said Monday the company had not been served with the lawsuit and was unable to comment.
According to the complaint, guests were reportedly taken to an area that was supposedly safe and told to remain there until further notice. However, the guests were "continually subjected to smoke, fumes, and other airborne toxins resulting from the nearby fire."
Cottle said the evacuation process "seemed to be lacking."
He said he was unsuccessful in negotiating a settlement with MGM Mirage. The lawsuit, he said, could lead to similar lawsuits being filed against MGM Mirage in regards to the fire.
The three-alarm fire caused $100 million in damages and lost business for the Monte Carlo and MGM Mirage, which had to close the 3,000-room hotel for three weeks. About 6,000 people were evacuated from the hotel because of the fire.
The Clark County Fire Department blamed the fire on welders who failed to use proper safety procedures. No citations were issued as the blaze was termed accidental.
The fire sent thick black smoke across the Las Vegas Valley and damaged the exterior of the Monte Carlo's south-facing roof-top facade. Stray bits of metal ignited foam material used in the Monte Carlo's outer design work.
Water damaged the Monte Carlo's 32nd floor, which was reopened 19 months later as Hotel32, a separate 50-unit exclusive boutique hotel atop the Monte Carlo.
Contact reporter Howard Stutz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3871.
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