Abandoned M&M Soul Food Café Engulfed in Flames Amidst Heatwave on Las Vegas Strip

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In the heart of Wednesday’s sweltering afternoon, the southern sky of the North Las Vegas Strip was shadowed with billowing plumes, a grim mask to the usual brilliant sunlight. The clouds of gray and black, portending an ominous doom, were not the rain clouds that locals might have welcomed in the scorching 107 degree heat. Rather, they were the telltale markers of a muted disaster, as smoke engulfed the vacant M&M Soul Food Café, painting a foreboding scene against the desert skyline.

No longer the vibrant hotspot it used to be, the property now lay solitary and abandoned at the south of the renowned Strat Hotel, Casino & Tower, on 2211 South Las Vegas Boulevard. Yet that very Wednesday, it was thrust once again into the limelight, albeit under tragic circumstances. Unseen hands ignited its structure, manifesting into a rapidly spreading inferno, the cause of which surged as rapidly as the fire itself.

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Las Vegas firefighters received an urgent call at 12:51 p.m., with a report of a column of thick smoke spiraling from the building’s roof. The first responding units arrived on the scene within a scant four minutes, the heat and urgency of the situation driving them onward. By 1:37 p.m., they had managed to tame the fiery beast with the help of numerous Las Vegas Fire & Rescue units.

The fight against the fiery monster, however, was not an easy one. Visibility nearly zero, due to the tumultuous waves of smoke that filled the air, the courageous firefighters pushed on. In temperatures reaching a sweltering 107 degrees, and clad in protective gear that made the heat seem but a scorching inferno, they wrestled with the flames, preventing the blaze from kissing adjacent buildings.

Sidelined by the fiery battle, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) officers worked diligently to divert traffic from South Las Vegas Boulevard and Cleveland Avenue, under the watchful eye of Las Vegas TV station KVVU.

The building, hollowed and detached since the closure of the café, had no business hosting any souls, yet it invited the grim visitor of fire all the same. The building had been condemned, left to whisper tales of yesteryears in the evening breeze, the information televised by Las Vegas TV station KLAS.

Despite the severe engagement with the rampant fire, no injuries were reported, a testament to the valiant efforts of the emergency services. As daylight faded, investigators began their search for the cause of the fire, trying to piece together the broken shards of a fiery puzzle.

Before its ill-fated brush with fire, the café had been marred by health violations. The Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) had shut down the restaurant in September 2019 following several health violations. It had been shuttered some months prior as well, its doors chained, its hustle silenced.

Amidst its previous violations were reports ranging from improper hand washing to the unsavory discovery of suspected mold in an ice machine. In the case of one violation, an employee reportedly manhandled a trash can before tarnishing bread with soiled gloves. Vegas Eater also reported the presence of insects in bulk flour and unposted grade cards.

In a poignant echo of history, the SNHD had also ordered the café’s closure on July 19, 2019, due to similarly disturbing violations. These repeated assaults on the café’s reputation eventually led to its closure, leaving the wounded building as an empty shell, only to be swallowed by Wednesday’s unplanned inferno.