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Firefighters battle blaze near Las Vegas casino

An electrical transformer exploded early Sunday on the Las Vegas strip, knocking out power to parts of some hotels and touching off a smoky blaze that snarled traffic, authorities said.

An electrical transformer exploded early Sunday on the Las Vegas strip, knocking out power to parts of some hotels and touching off a smoky blaze that snarled traffic, authorities said.

A transformer on a street behind the Monte Carlo resort blew up about 12:30 a.m., police spokesman Lt. William Scott said.

There were no reports of any injuries and no one at the resort was affected, but power was temporarily cut to parts of the building, Scott told The Associated Press.

The exterior lights of the nearby Aria Resort and Casino and Vdara Hotel at City Center were also out, apparently because of the fire.

"Firefighters are in the process of putting it out," Scott said. About an hour later, a reporter positioned about 500 yards away said there was no visible flames and firefighters were dousing an area where smoke was emanating.

Northbound I-15 was shut down for a time because of poor visibility caused by the smoke, but was reopened.

Scott says the transformer was likely connected to a power pole.

KVVU-TV reports that a photo of the blaze was posted on Twitter, drawing widespread attention to the fire.

A short video clip on YouTube showed the blaze apparently in its initial stages with flames shooting into the sky and New York New York and other casinos in the background.

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AP writer Bob Seavey in Phoenix contributed to this story.

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Oskar Garcia can be reached at http://Twitter.com/Oskar Garcia.

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