Local News


Firefighter who worked 1980 MGM blaze to retire

Posted at 8:09 AM, Jan 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-07 11:09:49-05

One of the last of the firefighters who worked the deadly MGM fire in 1980 is retiring Wednesday.

Capt. Jon Sabol has more than 35 years of experience with the Clark County Fire Department.

The department will be celebrating his hard work.

His retirement marks the end of an era where every other Clark County firefighter who responded to the blaze in the November of 1980 has retired. A Las Vegas city firefighter who worked on the blaze is still on duty.

85 people died and another 600 were seriously hurt in the fire, which prompted new regulations for sprinkler systems and alarms in high rises.


-- Broke out just before 7 a.m. Nov. 21, 1980 in a wall near a serving station at The Deli.
-- Several employees attempted to put out the fire without success.
-- The fire was reported at 7:17 a.m.
-- 5,000 people in the 23-story hotel with more than 2,000 rooms at the time of the fire.
-- Clark County Fire Department was first to respond. Other agencies that responded included North Las Vegas Fire Department, Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, Henderson Fire Department and helicopters from Nellis Air Force Base and U.S. Air Force.
-- The property did not have sprinklers because hotel executives did not want to spend $190,000.
-- 85 people died and more than 700 were injured.
-- Most of the deaths occurred in the stairwells. Many victims also died in their sleep.
-- Only one person died from burns. The rest of the victims were killed by smoke inhalation.
-- Nevada passed a law soon after that required all existing hotel-casinos to install sprinkler systems.
-- The MGM Grand reopened 8 months later. In 1985, it was sold and renamed Bally's.

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