The MGM Grand Hotel Fire
Posted: 11-21-10Category:Today is the 30th anniversary of the infamous MGM Grand Hotel Fire. The MGM Grand Hotel & Casino (now Bally’s) fire occurred on November 21, 1980 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fire killed 84 people, most through smoke inhalation and injured another 650. The tragedy remains the worst disaster in Nevada history and the third-worst hotel fire in modern U.S. history. At the time, approximately 5,000 people were in the hotel and casino, a 26-story luxury resort with more than 2,000 rooms. Just after 7 a.m., an electrical fire broke out in a non-sprinklered restaurant. While the fire primarily damaged the second floor casino and adjacent restaurants, most of the deaths were on the upper floors of the hotel. Many died in the stairwells while others died in their sleep. Openings in elevators, stairwells and seismic joints allowed toxic smoke to spread to the top floor. The disaster led to publicizing the fact that during a building fire, smoke inhalation is a more serious threat than flames. Due to faulty smoke dampers within the ventilation duct work, toxic fumes circulated throughout the hotel's air circulation system, accelerating the spread of the poisonous air. On February 10, 1981, just 90 days after the MGM fire, another fire broke out at the Las Vegas Hilton. Because of the two incidents, there was a major reformation of fire and building codes regarding sprinklers, automatic alarms and fire-resistive construction.