Thirty years ago, November 21, 1980, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas burned. Eighty-five people died and more than 700 were injured, including 14 firefighters. Here’s how the Clark County Fire Department describes the cause of the fire and the initial response:
It was determined during the investigation that the fire originated in the wall soffit of the side stand in the Deli, one of five restaurants located on the casino level.
The investigators concluded that several factors contributed to the cause of the fire but the primary source of ignition was an electrical ground fault.
From nfpadotorg on YouTube, this two part video (above and below): “Former NFPA fire investigator Dave Demers introduces a documentary chronicling the historic fire MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. The fire, which took place November 21, 1980, was the second largest loss-of-life hotel fire in the United States. The documentary, produced by the NFPA in 1981, examines how the fire began, the local response to the blaze, and how 85 people lost their lives in the incident.”
The employee first observed a reflection of a flickering light and, upon closer inspection, discovered a wall of flame traveling from the countertop to the ceiling. He immediately notified MGM security about the fire and proceeded to secure a hose line and fire extinguisher.
The employee repeatedly attempted to contain the fire but – by that time – the heat, smoke and pressure buildup was so intense that he was knocked down each time he tried to enter the Deli. Realizing the gravity of the situation, he decided to leave the area.
At the same time, other employees noticed the spreading fire and tried unsuccessfully to extinguish the growing flames.
Within six minutes of the time of discovery, the total casino area was involved in fire, at a burning rate of approximately 15 to 19 feet per second!
The Clark County Fire Department received the call reporting the fire at 7:17 A.M. Captain Rex Smith, Engineer Chad Marshal, and Firefighters Bert Sweeney, Toby Lamuraglia, and Ted Singer arrived in Engine 11 at 7:19 A.M. They positioned the 1,500 GPM fire engine at the North entrance of the casino and implemented the High Rise Preplan.
Upon entering the casino, the crew observed black smoke emitting from the Deli. They were only forty feet into the hotel when a huge fireball burst out of the Deli and rolled into the casino, hustling the crew out of the building. The company made it back to the engine as the flames sprang out the front of the entrance.
Also on STATter911 …
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- Raw video: Small explosions at commercial building fire in Southington, Connecticut. – January 19, 2012
- Pre-arrival video: Commercial fire in Ulster, NY. – March 23, 2013
- Dash-cam, helmet-cam, radio traffic: Southern MD large garage/workshop fire. – March 24, 2013
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