Local News


Fake tree test results show big fire risk

Posted at 5:50 PM, Dec 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-04 20:50:25-05

Fail.  That's the grade the Cosmo's fake palm trees got on the county's flammability test--raising one big question about what the Cosmo knew when they chose to install the fake trees.

Darcy Spears: Did they do any testing or flame rating on these materials before they decided to do their whole pool deck like that?
Ron Lynn: No. Not that I am aware of.

Clark County Director of Building and Fire Prevention Ron Lynn says he was expecting the results based on what we all saw go down at the Cosmo's Boulevard pool on July 25.

The spikes in the graphs from the county's test show the dramatic results.

"You can see how the plastic-the plastic fronds-went right up and disappeared.  That was the mass one.  In three minutes, they're gone!"

The tree trunks went up fast too--made of polyurethane foam, coated with fiberglass resin around a steel core.

Darcy Spears: if those trees were real, would we be seeing those results?
Ron Lynn: No.  We would not be.

Lynn says the artificial materials would have been unacceptable for indoor use.  But fake landscaping outside is not regulated.  And despite the test results, it's going to stay that way.

Darcy: But why the softball approach in terms of not changing the code to make sure we don't have this happen again?
Ron: Well, all our codes are reflective of the national/international codes.
Darcy: But we can be stricter, right?
Ron: We can indeed be stricter.

But they're choosing not to.  One reason?  Code change can't be applied retroactively unless it goes through the legislative process.  Which they did after the 1980 MGM Grand fire that killed 85 people.

Darcy: If someone had been injured or killed in this fire, would we be having a different conversation right now?
Ron: Perhaps so.  Obviously if there is a tragedy involved, it does precipitate additional investigation, or, if you will, additional consideration of codes.

Lynn says another reason they're not changing the code is potential economic impact.

"Cost to an industry-we could put an industry out of business."

The resort industry has been put on notice.  The county sent a letter suggesting the resorts themselves consider similar testing and/or removal of outdoor artificial foliage.

Darcy: Are we allowing the fox to watch the hen-house?  Is this too softball of an approach?
Ron: Not necessarily.  The ultimate responsibility for a facility lies with the owner of that facility.

No one from the Cosmopolitan would go on camera and they refused to let us inside to get any new video of the pool area.  They did send a statement saying:

"The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has intently taken proactive and preventative measures to ensure the continued and improved safety and security of our guests and CoStars. The resort is committed to executing the complete removal of all outdoor artificial foliage by early next year. To date, more than half of artificial foliage has been removed. The Cosmopolitan thanks the Clark County Building Department and the Clark County Fire Department for their efforts and looks forward to being a part of any future conversations to ensure the safety of all Las Vegas visitors."