It’s been over four decades since the tragic MGM Grand fire, but the myths about it still persist. Let’s bust one of the most common ones and uncover the disturbing truth behind it.
Many people believe that the MGM Grand was demolished after the fire due to extensive damage or bad luck. However, the truth is far different. While there was indeed fire damage, it was contained to the casino and first floor, and did not cause any serious structural damage. Despite the bad juju associated with the tragedy, the original MGM Grand was not demolished. Instead, the fire damage was repaired, and the building was sold to Bally’s five years later. Under the new ownership, the hotel was transformed into the well-known Bally’s Las Vegas. Meanwhile, a new MGM Grand, with the iconic mirrored windows and lion statue, opened in 1993, south of the original location.
The original hotel tower where most of the deaths occurred continued to operate and still operates to this day. The myth of the demolished MGM Grand is just that – a myth.
The tragic fire on November 21, 1980, claimed the lives of 87 people, making it one of the worst hotel fires in history. Faulty wiring in a deli sparked a small fire, and the lack of automatic sprinklers and a fire alarm system in that part of the casino led to the fire spreading rapidly. The victims, many of whom were likely asleep in their beds, succumbed to thick black smoke and carbon monoxide that poured through the air conditioning ducts.
After the fire, the MGM Grand underwent extensive renovations, including the installation of automatic sprinklers and a fire alarm system throughout the property, which were now legally required. Nonetheless, bad publicity from the fire and years of litigation led to a decline in visitation.
The legacy of the MGM Grand fire lives on, with hundreds of thousands of guests occupying the same upper-floor rooms where tragic deaths occurred. Despite the unsettling truth, the old MGM Grand continues to operate, reminding visitors of the devastating events that unfolded.