Brief fire forces hotel-casino evacuation on vegas strip

By Times Wires
Published January 26, 2008


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, but firefighters quickly gained control of the blaze. No serious injuries were reported.

The midmorning fire spread across the rooftop facade, made of a foam building material. Orange flames lapped at the 32-story hotel's name in large script.

An ambulance company spokeswoman said 17 people were taken to area hospitals with minor injuries, mostly from inhaling smoke or from fleeing the building. The hotel was closed.

"It could have been very serious," Clark County Fire Chief Steve Smith said. He said it was too early to assess damage or the cause of the fire, which was largely confined to the rooftop and the facade of the upper floors. Clark County spokesman Erik Pappa said officials were told welders were working on the roof before the fire.


Prescription drugs lead OD death spike

Overdose fatalities have risen significantly in the United States since 1999, driven largely by prescription drugs. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unintentional poisoning deaths - 95 percent of which involve drug overdoses - increased from 12,186 in 1999 to 20,950 in 2004.

During that time, prescription drugs overtook cocaine and heroin combined as the leading cause of lethal overdoses, said Dr. Len Paulozzi, a CDC injury prevention expert.

Overdose deaths have been increasing since the early 1990s. But the recent rise has been so dramatic that it is driving the first sustained increase in 25 years in the nation's overall injury death rate, Paulozzi reported in a study published in December. Drug treatment experts doubt that most people realize the seriousness of the prescription-abuse problem.

Because they aren't street drugs, people think they don't have the same risk, said John Walters, director of the White House Office of Federal Drug Control Policy. He unveiled an ad campaign Thursday that will target prescription drug abuse by teenagers. The first television ad will run during the Super Bowl.


N.Y. man arrested in wife's machete death

A suburban man is accused of hacking his wife to death with a machete after an argument over his refusal to take his medication, police said.

The couple's 17-year-old girl discovered the blood-covered body of Myong-Ok Delenzik, 46, when she went to awaken her mother for a ride to school Thursday. Thomas Delenzik, 42, was arrested later that morning in the driveway of his home after being confronted by police.

Delenzik pleaded not guilty Friday to second-degree murder and was held without bail.


Shooter in Smart case pleads for parole

The gunman in the Pamela Smart murder case tearfully apologized to his victim's family Friday as he asked for early release from prison. Gregory Smart's father said he was moved by William Flynn's words, but not enough to support his release anytime soon.

Flynn, 33, was 16 in 1990 when he shot Pamela Smart's husband. He said he killed Gregory Smart at the behest of Pamela Smart, a media coordinator at Flynn's high school who had been carrying on an affair with the teen. She is serving a life sentence.


Gandhi grandson quitsafter Israel comment

Mahatma Gandhi's grandson resigned from the peace institute he co-founded, the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence based at the University of Rochester, after condemnation of his comments that Israel and the Jews are the biggest players in a culture of violence that "is eventually going to destroy humanity."

Arun Gandhi, the fifth grandson of the revered pacifist, said Friday that his comments, which were posted on an online forum, were meant "to generate a healthy discussion on the proliferation of violence."


Murder case moves to its end after DNA find

Prosecutors moved Friday to drop a murder case against a man freed after nearly a decade in prison, but stopped short of saying he was exonerated by the DNA evidence that led a judge to overturn his conviction.

Timothy Masters was sentenced in life in prison in 1999 in the 1987 slaying of Peggy Hettrick, but authorities said last week that DNA on her body belonged to someone else. He was released on Tuesday.