Wednesday’s closet fire at Showboat Casino Hotel, which one man claimed to have destroyed $92,000 in cash, remains under investigation, officials said.
Ahmed Elkholy, of Seaside Heights, said he was sleeping when the fire started in the closet of his room at about 7:45 p.m. Because the fire blocked the doorway to the hallway and he was dressed only in his underwear and an undershirt, he wrapped himself in his blanket and ran through the flames to escape the room, Elkholy said.
He and other hotel guests escaped the hotel uninjured, and firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the closet, officials said. Except for smoke damage and fire damage in the closet, the hotel remained intact, Fire Chief Dennis Brooks said.
Elkholy said he had placed in the closet $70,000 he brought with him last week to the casino as well as $22,000 he won from playing blackjack.
Brooks said investigators were still looking into what caused the fire and what was damaged. At the same time, the fire chief said he didn’t remember seeing anything at the scene that would suggest cash in the closet.
“That would be under investigation by our fire investigators,” Brooks said.
Caesars Entertainment, which owns Showboat, referred questions to the Fire Department, saying the fire was an ongoing investigation.
“At the conclusion of the investigation, any claims will be resolved,” spokeswoman Katie Dougherty said in a statement.
Elkholy said that he had kept the cash in his room because he would need it handy so he could keep playing.
“I need to talk to a lawyer,” he said Wednesday. “I don’t know what to do.”
Contact Joel Landau:
Follow Joel Landau on Twitter @landaupressofac
Contact Hoa Nguyen: