Nothing puts a kink in a restful SoCal weekend like flipping on the TV news and seeing black smoke billowing from The Cosmopolitan. Yet there I was, glued to the news as the images were replayed on every station.
As a community, we spend a lot of time, effort and treasure creating favorable media exposure to lure tourists here. And yet one accident can send it all up in smoke, educating a new generation on the Bally’s fire and scaring the daylights out of everyone holding reservations in a Strip high-rise.
That’s bad. Let’s not make things worse by pretending all is well.
“Clark County’s building and fire codes are among the most stringent in the nation,” the press release said. Good to know.
And fire crews were right on top of the situation in minutes. Those were scary moments and we’re lucky to have such a well trained fire fighting team.
But what about that gaping regulatory hole on the subject of artificial landscaping like the faux palms that went up in seconds? They were like “liquid gasoline,” said a fire official who apparently uses some other form of gasoline in his family auto.
It’s hard to fathom this kind of oversight in such a sophisticated market that’s already been through a flaming disaster of epic proportion.
So much of the tourism business is about having confidence in the brand. And the Las Vegas brand is incredibly strong. But so was Miami’s brand before some German tourists got killed, putting a chill on European tourism that lasted a decade.
It’s just good business to turn our attention to making sure our tourists are safe and go home happy.
This isn’t just a Clark County jurisdictional problem. We thrive as a community and we’ll starve as a community unless we fix this now.
Our building regulations in all jurisdictions need to extend to artificial landscaping. And we need to do that yesterday if not sooner. Then we need to scour our safety regulations to see if there are any other dangerous oversights lurking.
We owe it to our guests and we owe it to ourselves.