Firefighters quash three alarm fire at Monte Carlo in Vegas

Las Vegas_A fire charred the top of two of three wings of the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino on Friday, causing no major injuries but forcing visitors and employees to evacuate, authorities said.

About two hours after it began, the fire was contained in the west wing and nearly contained in the south wing, according to the fire departments in Las Vegas and Clark County.  The cause of the fire was undetermined, authorities said. Welders had been working on the roof.  No one was trapped and there were no reports of major injuries, said Ed Cagalo of the Clark County Fire Department. The 32-floor building has been completely evacuated.

The blaze was reported about 11 a.m.  Black smoke and flames poured from the fire, which roared through the building's exterior stucco and foam until firefighters were able to get on the roof and knock down the flames.

Most of the damage was to the top floor of the building. Falling debris ignited parts of an exterior ledge four floors below. Billington said traffic was backed up on the Strip, and crowds of people were gathering to watch the blaze.

"It was horrible, there was fire everywhere," a hotel worker who watched the flames from a parking lot told CNN affiliate KVBC.  The hotel has more than 3,000 rooms, including 211 penthouse suites, and conference rooms.  The more expensive rooms are on the top floors.

The hotel was built in 1996 for $344 million. It is in the heart of the resort corridor.  The Monte Carlo, a subsidiary of MGM Mirage, has about 3,000 employees. In 1980, a fire across the street at the MGM Grand Hotel, now Ballys, killed 84 people and injured nearly 700.

The smoke was visible from more than a mile away, CNN producer Darian Billington said.

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