Last week's fire at the Monte Carlo casino-hotel was caused by flying molten metal from a hand-held cutting torch and could have been prevented, the Clark County Fire Department said Thursday.

"We believe this fire could have been prevented had the appropriate steps been taken," said Chief Steve Smith in a statement.

The fire shut the casino down and forced the evacuation of the 32-story building.

Seventeen people were taken to hospitals with what ambulance company officials described as minor injuries, mostly from inhaling smoke or fleeing the building.

A Clark County building official has said the building will remain closed until resort owner MGM Mirage completes repair work to the roof-line foam building material damaged in the blaze.