MGM Grand Hotel Las Vegas hotel fire

From Academic Kids

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Mgmgrandfire1.JPG
Deadly smoke rises from the casino towards the top floors of the luxurious resort.

On the morning of November 21 1980, at approximately 07:10 PST, a fire broke out in a delicatessen at what was then the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, a world-famous, 26-story luxury resort with over 2,000 hotel rooms. The event remains the worst disaster in Nevada history.

About 5,000 people were in the hotel and casino at the time of the fire. Smoke and fire spread through the building killing 84 people and injuring 679, including tourists and employees. There were 87 deaths total, including three which occurred later as a result of injuries sustained in the fire. Most fire damage occurred in the namesake casino on the second floor and its adjacent restaurants, although most of the deaths were caused by smoke inhalation in the upper rooms of the hotel. If firefighters had not extinguished the blaze when they did, the building probably would have been burned to the ground. As it was, the fire was considered to have been the second-worst hotel fire in modern U.S. history.

According to the official report by the Clark County Fire Department, the cause of the fire was an improperly grounded electrical wire. The fire smoldered for hours before breaking out, flashing through the casino area. Only a minor fraction of the hotel had been fitted with a sprinkler system which was not legally required for buildings built before 1979; the MGM Grand had opened in 1973. Guests only learned of the fire upon actually seeing smoke or hearing other guests warn them; the hotel's alarm system was destroyed before fire alarms could activate. Eventually $223 million USD in legal settlements was paid out as a result of the disaster.

The MGM Grand was repaired and then sold to Bally's Entertainment (now Caesars Entertainment) which changed the facility's name to "Bally's Las Vegas." Subsequently, the present MGM Grand hotel-casino was built about a mile south at the northeast corner of the Las Vegas Strip and Tropicana Avenue, the former site of the Marina Hotel, which was acquired by MGM in 1989 and was renamed "MGM-Marina Hotel".

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