Las Vegas:  The poolside fire that occurred over the weekend next to a rooftop pool at the Cosmopolitan, was driven by high winds and fake palm trees. The blaze had guests running and the scene was clouded in black smoke as the casino hotel was evacuated. One person was taken to hospital because of smoke inhalation and another was treated at the hotel for it.

The artificial palm trees were made of foam, which is being used more on the Strip as a building material and is used for decorations and facades according to the Clark County Battalion Chief, Leo Durkin. The foam is hard to set alight, but once it has caught fire it will burn hot and fast he said.

The cause of the blaze is still under investigation by authorities. The trees had string lights on them, but it is uncertain if they were the cause. If the fire was heavily affected by the foam decorations then it could lead to potential changes in fire code regulations. Exterior decorations such as the artificial palm trees and patio furniture are not inspected by fire officials. Clark County regulates the use of cabanas and outdoors shelters. Regulations also ban the use of electrical cooking equipment and open flames on the pool decks.

Rodd Lynn, the overseer of Clark County’s Fire Prevention Bureau said that if the palm trees were inside the casino then county regulators would have inspected them. He also said that he has been informed that the casino is moving the other palm trees away from the pool deck, but they have found no code violations yet.

Since the fire at MGM Grand in 1980 that killed 87 people, the Las Vegas area has prided itself on its strict building codes and intense firefighting efforts. The fire department responded rapidly to the fire with over 100 personnel and the fire that started around noon was out in about 30 minutes. The Cosmopolitan reopened the Bamboo Pool area less than 24 hours after the fire broke out.