A fire on the roof of the Monte Carlo hotel-casino forced guests and gamblers to flee and sent flaming embers raining down on the Las Vegas Strip.
Firefighters quickly gained control of the blaze and no serious injuries were reported.
An ambulance company spokeswoman said 17 people were taken to area hospitals with minor injuries, mostly from inhaling smoke or from fleeing the building.
None of the 120 firefighters who fought the blaze was hurt.
Clark County Fire Chief Steve Smith said: „It could have been very serious.
„Due to the aggressive firefighting tactics of our personnel we were able to contain it.“
Strict fire codes were adopted for Las Vegas resorts since a 1980 fire killed 87 people down the street from the Monte Carlo at the old MGM Grand hotel, now the Bally’s Las Vegas.
Mr Smith said it was too early to assess damage or say what caused the fire, which began just before 11am local time and was under control in about an hour.
There was no immediate indication of criminal activity or arson, but „nothing is ruled out at this time“, Mr Smith said.
Clark County spokesman Erik Pappa said county officials were told welders were working on the roof of the building before the fire.
Employees went door-to-door evacuating the hotel, said Gordon Absher, a spokesman for the resort’s owner, MGM Mirage Inc. The fire chief said no one had to be rescued.
Larry Wappel, 25, said he and his brother, Eric Wappel, were in a room on the 30th floor when they heard housekeeping staff banging on doors and yelling „Fire, get out!“
He said it took about 10 minutes to walk single-file down the stairs to get to ground level.
„There were a couple of ladies crying, but it was pretty calm,“ he said.