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Afternoon blaze rips through abandoned Las Vegas casino

Firefighters contained a four-alarm blaze that caused $4.5 million in damages at the vacant Key Largo casino building on Flamingo Road near Paradise Road on Thursday afternoon.

About 117 firefighters from Clark County, Las Vegas and Henderson fire departments responded to a 3:05 p.m. call at 377 E. Flamingo Road, according to officials. Two firefighters were treated for injuries that were not life-threatening.

Heavy smoke and flames were visible along the roof when responding units arrived. Flamingo was closed between Koval Lane and Paradise because of the blaze.

Erik Newman, Clark County deputy fire chief, said the fire caused extensive damage, and firefighters were cautious about entering for fear of collapsing interior walls. The fire spread rapidly and caused several sections of the roof to cave in.

Fire crews expected to remain on scene through the night to locate and extinguish hot spots.

Newman said that although the building contains asbestos, everyone in the surrounding area should be safe.

The structure was built in 1974. The casino closed on Jan. 19, 2005, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

At the time the resort closed, the gaming license was held by Ambassador Gaming Inc., which was doing business as the Quality Inn Key Largo Casino.

Today there is no gaming license issued for the property, which is for sale for $48 million as a gaming/mixed use development site, according to Colliers International, which is handling the listing.

The property is now owned by a Miami-based development company.

According to Newman, the abandoned building had a history of squatters, but it is unknown whether anyone was inside at the time of the fire.

Arson detectives were investigating what caused the fire.

Review-Journal writer Chris Sieroty contributed to this report. Contact reporter Caitlyn Belcher at cbelcher@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0264.

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