Fire-Safety Work Partly Shuts Dunes

Times Staff Writer

The Dunes Hotel--one of seven Las Vegas hotels cited recently for failure to comply with safety rules adopted after the disastrous MGM Grand Hotel and Las Vegas Hilton Hotel fires--has closed its main showroom and convention center while seeking financing for $13.5-million worth of mandated fire-safety work.

"The Dunes appears to be suffering financial problems that make them unable to comply," Brad Remp, an inspections administrator with the Clark County Building Department, said Thursday. "They have indicated they just can't afford to do it right now."

The safety regulations--which went into effect in 1981, a few months after the fires that claimed a total of 92 lives--call for the installation of sprinkler systems, alarm systems and smoke detectors, the modification of elevators and the upgrading of fire exits. The laws gave hotels until June, 1984, to comply.

"Of the major high-rises, about 13, including the MGM Grand, the Hilton, the Frontier and the Stardust, are all at full compliance," Remp said. "The others have a lot of the work completed. Across the board, I'd say it's about 95% done, with over $200 million already spent."

But seven hotels--the Dunes, El Morocco, the Hacienda, Jockey Club, the Landmark, the Sahara and the Treasury--either failed to meet the deadline or have allowed time extensions to lapse, Remp said.

He said the remaining work primarily involves fire exits, which must either be increased in number or improved to meet flame-resistance standards.

Last month, Remp said, misdemeanor criminal citations--each of which carries a potential penalty of a $1,000 fine or six months in jail--were issued singly or in multiples to the seven hotels. The Dunes received six citations.

Remp said that while the final deadline for the work in the main showroom, convention facilities and a guest wing at the Dunes is not until Jan. 31, 1986, the hotel has failed to meet a number of interim deadlines.

Work in the remainder of the hotel, which remains open to patrons, and at other cited hotels, which remain entirely open, has been completed to a point at which the fire risk to patrons is relatively low, Remp said.

Dunes officials were ordered Wednesday to appear before the Clark County Safety Standards Mediation Board on April 3 with plans on how the remaining work can be financed and completed.

In asking for an extension of their deadline, Remp said, officials of the Dunes provided documentation indicating that they were having difficulty raising money for the "retrofit" work. Dunes officials were not immediately available for comment on Thursday.

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