Investigators said that a two-alarm fire at the historic Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas on Thursday was intentional, after firefighters discovered a man, barely alive, locked in 22nd floor room that was reserved only for employees.
On the 22nd floor of the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino at approximately 8:26 p.m., a fire broke out, causing the floor to fill up with smoke, reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The fire started in an unfinished room that was used for storing linens and bedding while the entire 22nd floor, along with the 23rd and the 24th, was being renovated. However, guests were not allowed on those floors while they were being renovated.
Floors 21 through 25 were emptied and the emergency response units arrived on the scene, reported Fox.
The sprinkler system in Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino had doused the blaze inside the room, but heavy smoke made it difficult for the firefighters to see.
They couldn't see a thing in the room. Smoke was that thick, said Tim Szymanski, a spokesman for the Las Vegas Fire Department, according to the Associated Press.
As firefighters forced their way into the room, they crawled along floor, searching for victims. They reportedly found an unidentified individual in the corner of the room. He appeared to be limp, unresponsive and moaning near the windows.
The man was taken to University Medical Center and suffered from critical smoke inhalation. He is reportedly still in intensive care.
The man was a guest at the hotel, according to staffers at the Golden Nugget, but his name was not made available to the public.
The fire reportedly cost the Golden Nugget thousands of dollars, reported the AP.
Rudy Boteo was reportedly in the parking structure of the casino, when the first engines arrived on the scene around 8:30 a.m. He saw the blaze coming from the building and paramedics wheel out the man on a gurney.
I looked up and saw smoke coming out, said Boteo, reported the Associated Press. Then I looked down and saw them bring this guy out.
Other witnesses reported confusion on the hotel's part. Guests received conflicting instructions after hotel employees could not find a fire. However, they eventually told all guests from 21st floor to the 25th floor to evacuate.
This was the second fire in weeks at the Golden Nugget. On Jan. 27, a fire in a dishwasher on the fifth-floor, forced officials to evacuate hundreds of guests for 30 minutes. The fire caused little damage.
The Golden Nugget was built in 1946 and is one of the oldest casinos in the city. It is also one the largest casinos in the downtown area, containing 2,345 deluxe guest rooms and suites.