1980 MGM Grand Las Vegas Fire

I heard something on TV last night that I want to check out:

Is it true that some of the victims were found at the slots machines with their hand still on the lever? Or is this an urban legend?

If true, is there a reference that I could check out?

heh…I know someone who watched CSI: last night :slight_smile:

well, so far, I’ve only found this editorial blasting the Fire Chief of Las Vegas from the Dec. 3, 1980 edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (it’s in .pdf format here ) which contains the line:

(italics mine)

Since it’s a very caustic editorial, take that statement with a grain of salt. I’ll keep looking for verification :wink:


Well, of course everything you hear on CSI is accurate :rolleyes:

This site has a retrospective on the fire from a few years ago and they intervew a few people who were there. They mention people who died having packed their suitcases before leaving and others who died near doors they couldn’t find but there is nothing about people dying at slot machines, which implies (to me, anyway) that it is just an urban legend. Given some of the stories they do talk about I think they would have mentioned it if it had occured.

And, welcome to the SDMB!

You can read the official fire department report here.

I lived in Vegas at the time and we all heard a story that a security guard from the MGM was arrested later that night while gambling across the street at Bally’s using smoke-blackened chips*. Now that I think about it, that also sounds like an Urban Legend.
*it being common in those days for casinos to honor each other’s chips for the convience of their patrons. I don’t know if they still do that or what systems they have for the exchanging back of each other’s chips, now I’m curious.

Q.E.D. great link! Fascinating story!

I was in the MGM playing poker when the fire broke out. The poker parlor was up front, right by the emergency exit doors on the south side of the entrance atrium…so we all got out without seeing what the slots players were doing.

I will say this though: Not only did all the poker players scoop up their chips before running but, if it was a big hand near the end, the hands in progress got played out before the players ran really fast… In defense of our sanity, I can say that, in the poker parlor, we heard the fire alarm long before the fire got there.