Fire hits defunct Monte Carlo Club-again


Two men watch as firefighters try to extinguish the blaze that broke out at the former Monte Carlo Club in Chalan Piao Wednesday night. (Ferdie de la Torre)  A fire of unknown cause broke out Wednesday night at the defunct Monte Carlo Club in front of Hopwood Junior High School in Chalan Piao.

The Department of Public Safety has yet to release information about the fire but some residents in the area suspect it was deliberately started-like last January’s blaze that also partially affected Monte Carlo.

Witnesses told Saipan Tribune that the fire started around 8:45pm. As of 9:50pm, thick smoke had already engulfed the one-story concrete building. At the time, residents observed that firefighters had yet to spray water into the building.

A witness said firefighters extinguished the blaze shortly before 12am Thursday.

A check by Saipan Tribune at the scene yesterday afternoon showed that only the interior of the former Monte Carlo Club was burned.

Employees and family members of Bammyss Bar and Grill, which is located in the same building, were seen cleaning the restaurant, which only sustained smoke damage.

Firefighters prevented the blaze from spreading to Bammyss, which recently opened. Due to lack of power supply because of the fire, Bammyss was closed yesterday.

Police and witnesses said the fire started in the stage of the former Monte Carlo Club. The establishment was closed in January after a fire that broke out at the back of the building damaged a portion of the club.

Primo Ferrera, 47, a construction worker, said he was helping his wife, an employee of Bammyss, inside the restaurant when a customer came and told them that there was fire at the former Monte Carlo.

Ferrera said he immediately ran to their house located at the back of the building and took their seven children to safety.

Ferrera wasn’t able to salvage any other item but the blaze fortunately did not spread to their house.

“I saw a big fire in the stage area of Monte Carlo. It’s like the fire was caused by gas,” he said in Tagalog.

Last Jan. 12, a fire broke out at 11pm at the former barracks of Mary’s Bakery located behind Connie’s Diner (now Bammyss). The blaze razed the one-story abandoned barracks, which were made of light materials.

The fire immediately spread and burned the sports bar section of Monte Carlo Club. Firefighters prevented the blaze from transferring to other parts of the club and to Connie’s Diner.

Witnesses said that prior to the fire, an unidentified man entered Monte Carlo but did not order anything. After a few minutes he left and then returned some five to 10 minutes later and went to the restroom. After about two minutes, employees of the club learned that there was a big fire at the former Mary’s Bakery barracks located behind the club.

The unidentified man was seen throwing rocks at the barracks as it was engulfed in flames.

Two hours before that fire, another blaze razed an abandoned building of the former MGM Factory, only a few blocks away from Monte Carlo.

On Nov. 17, 2011 three fires broke out close to each other in San Antonio, Chalan Piao, and Chalan Kanoa.

Investigators suspected that two of those fires were intentionally set of.

Last March, fire investigators confirmed that 11 fires that occurred from November 2011 to February of this year in the southern part of Saipan were all arson-related incidents.

By Ferdie de la Torre

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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