37 Years Ago: Could MGM Grand fires teach a history lesson?
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) —
Thirty-seven-years-ago on November 21, 1980, an electrical fire at the MGM Grand killed 85 people and injured more than 700.
“The first thing we saw was a security guard and he was dead. And he was blocking the door open," said one witness.
In the aftermath, people asked what needs to change? History Professor Michael Green said back then, the legislature met in January, but by that time they met there was some easing off of the arguing about what happened. In February, a fire struck the Las Vegas Hilton and that is when lawmakers decided they needed to make some changes.
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An arsonist started the Las Vegas Hilton fire, eight people died as a result of the fire. Ron Lynn spent 35 years as Director of Clark County Building and Safety.
“Some things...like an arson fire occur because people are the fault. And that's a tough thing to fix,” Lynn said in a 2015 interview.
Nevada set in motion sweeping change across the U.S. when fire sprinklers and other safety measures became the standard.
"After the commission came together there were some areas of concern that they had that they identified and found now in the new changes to NRS477," said Bart Chambers, Nevada State Fire Marshal".
One litigator said tragedy can force lifesaving improvements and protections. Matthew Callister, a 30-year law veteran, argues that fire codes, safety, and security today started in those courtrooms with litigation.
After mass shooter Steven Paddock open fire on concertgoers, casino's like Boyd Gaming changed their "do not disturb" sign policy. Now it allows hotel employees to enter a room after 48 hours. Green said there are also other events that have introduced security changes like September 11, 2011. Green said those events have changed how many security measure people must first go through before they travel on an airplane.
While current One October lawsuits seek money for victims. Attorneys argue festival attendees expected they'd be safe.
Could the events of One October change business on the strip?
"There is good that occurs when we have a public venue to argue and discuss and eventually get decisions made about is it safe enough," said Callister.