Las Vegas Sun - History

January 17, 2018

January 17, 2018 Currently: ° | Complete forecast


Deadly Hilton fire was 31 years ago today


Sun File Photo

The front page of the Wednesday, Feb. 11, 1981, edition of the Las Vegas Sun on the Hilton fire.

It was 31 years ago today, at about 8 p.m., that a fire ripped through the Las Vegas Hilton — once known as the International Hotel and now as LVH – Las Vegas Hotel — trapping some guests in hotel rooms while others used sheets to climb to safety.

Eight people died and 200 were injured. Damage was estimated at $13 million.

The Las Vegas Sun reported the next day that “enormous clouds of smoke billowed from the 2,300-room hotel. Hundreds of onlookers thronged around the hotel, creating massive traffic problems for Metro police. There were reports that fights broke out among people milling outside the hotel.”

Investigators later said a busboy set an eighth-floor lobby curtain on fire with a marijuana cigarette, starting the fire. Philip Bruce Cline was convicted of arson and is serving eight life terms plus 15 years in state prison.

The Hilton fire came just months after a fire at the MGM Grand killed 87 people and injured about 700.

Click here for more on the history of fabulous Las Vegas.

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