Nevada December 09, 2018
One Of The Deadliest Accidents In U.S. History Happened Right Here In Nevada
If you lived in Nevada during the 80s, it’s more than likely you remember one of the deadliest days in our state’s history. Nevada is a wonderful state to live in, but some tragic things have happened here, including one of the biggest hotel fires our country has ever seen. Claiming the lives of 85 people, this tragedy shook the entire state to its core. The hotel fire would ultimately have a huge impact on the city of Las Vegas for years to come, and it still hasn’t been completely forgotten. In fact, this fateful day will stick in our memory forever.
For many Nevadans who have been in the state for decades, November 21st is a fateful day. It was on this day in 1980 that a super deadly hotel fire broke out, killing 85 people and injuring 650 more.
The MGM Grand that you see today is very different from the hotel it started out as. It originally was located in what is now known as Bally's Las Vegas. Opened to the public in 1973, it was considered one of Las Vegas's first megaresorts and cost a whopping $106 million. Despite its cost, the hotel was severely flawed. It failed to invest in one very important feature: fire sprinklers.
Today, the fateful fire is seen as a tragedy that was caused by a large chain of negligence that started from the construction of the building itself.
were fire sprinklers in a few parts of the hotel complex. However, several seemingly important areas like The Deli or the casino floor did not have them. This would've cost the hotel an extra $192,000.
It all began at 7:07 am when a fire was sparked in the casino's restaurant known as The Deli. At the time that the fire broke out, there were about 5,000 people in the hotel and casino.
The fire was discovered by a tiling crew shortly after and the Clark County Fire Department was immediately alerted. Fire engines were sent out to the hotel, but the fire was already spreading. By the time emergency services arrived, the fire had spread to the lobby with the help of wallpaper, PVC piping, glue, and other accelerants that were found in the hotel's decor and furniture. The fire raced through the casino floor and even blew out a massive fireball onto The Strip. In all, it took just six minutes for the entire building to become engulfed from the time the fire was noticed.
The stairwell doors were another major flaw with the hotel's construction. The 26-floor hotel had many stairwells where guests could make an escape. However, the doors automatically locked from the inside, trapping guests inside of the stairwells once they headed downstairs.
As a result, many died in the stairwells once they began filling up with toxic smoke. Others were trapped in the upper floors of the hotel. Most of the people who died in the tragedy were found between the 19th and 26th floors and had suffered from smoke innhalation. Others fled to the roof where they were later rescued by helicopters.
The fire was contained quickly, but it was too late for many. Afterwards, reports revealed that there were 83 building violations and errors in total which contributed to the fire.
As the disaster itself subsided, lawsuits were filed. Over 1,300 lawsuits were filed against 118 companies, resulting in a total settlement of around $223 million to the victims of the fire. Although the owners of the MGM Grand were seriously scrutinized after the fire, they never really fessed up to their mistakes. However, it still left a profound effect on Las Vegas as other hotels set out to enact new fire codes and evacuation systems.
All in all, the MGM Grand Fire remains as one of the worst disasters in Nevada's history, and the third-worst hotel fire in U.S. history. It was an incredibly sad day for the Silver State, but it's one that we will never forget.
For a more in-depth look at the fire, check out the fact-filled, if not slightly dated, video below.
Do you remember this incredibly tragic hotel fire? This was an awful day in Nevada history, but we became stronger because of it. Our state has unfortunately fallen victim to many disasters, many of them are featured on this list of the
16 Most Horrifying Disasters In Nevada’s History.