The devastating fire resulted in years of legal battles involving hundreds of lawyers, millions of dollars in settlements and changes in Nevada's fire safety codes, but the lessons learned helped prevent similar fires as owners of other hotels rushed to upgrade their properties' fire safety.
The hotel featured doors that automatically went on lockdown in case of fire, initially concieved as a safety measure, later proved to be only adding to the danger as they trapped many people in the burning building.
Witnesses recall that the fire helped bond Las Vegas as a community as hundreds of people rushed to the rescue effort; nearly all helicopters in town, from private to those in the nearby Nellis Military Base, were used to rescue those who made it to the roof.
A similar fire occured in Las Vegas Hilton only 90 days later but the lessons learned at MGM Grand fire helped save tens of lives.
The building was occupied by MGM Grand Casino before it burned down in 1980, resulting in 84 dead and 679 injured.
The blaze that started as a minor fire in the kitchen culminated in an inferno that emitted a smoke cloud 2000 feet tall (for comparison Stratosphere Tower is 1148 feet tall).
60 people died between the floors 19 and 26 as the smoke from the casino went up the tower ventilation systems and stairwells, killing anyone trapped in their rooms and those in the stairwells trying to make it to the roof.
Those who were trapped in their hotel rooms during the fire were desperate to get out and used any means possible, from climbing down ropes and bed sheets to jumping out of windows and hoping for the best.
The aftermath of the fire resembled that of a horror movie as the hotel was filled with dead bodies - laying on the staircases still in climbing poses, piled in front of the elevators, the worst being those in the casino where most bodies were burned beyond recognition.
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