February 10, 2021, marked 40 years since the second deadly hotel fire in three months shook Las Vegas to its core.
The city was already reeling from the November fire that claimed 87 lives at the old MGM Grand (today Bally's). Then, on February 10, 1981, it was a terrible case of déjà vu.
This time it was the Hilton (now the Westgate), which was the largest hotel in the world at that time.
"The flames went right through the hallway," one hotel evacuee described to News 3 as firefighters were still mopping up. "It scorched all the halls. It was so fast."
"I was in the casino when they closed it down," another woman said after reuniting with her husband. "I went right to the phone to tell him there's a fire in the hotel, to try to get out as fast as he could.”
It had started as a normal night at the Hilton with a packed house in the showroom featuring dancer Juliet Prowse and singer Andy Williams.