Police and fire officials in the western American state of Nevada are treating the fire at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel as a case of arson.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, USA (FEBRUARY 11, 1981) (REUTERS)
LV Hilton Hotel on fire, flames licking outside of building. ZOOM IN TO CU flames, PULL BACK TO LV
TILT UP PAN Flames rising up front of building.
GV People trapped on balcony waving sheets tied together.
CU Male survivor speaking:
(SOUNDBITE ENGLISH) "I checked into that room, and, within sixty seconds, we couldn't open that door. When I checked into that room, there wasn't a flame or a trace of smoke in the hallway."
SCU Female survivor talking to reporter:
(SOUNDBITE ENGLISH) "We were on the 20th floor, and our door was on fire. My husband put the fire out. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for prayers, and for him."
Aerial of Hilton hotel
Background: Police and fire officials in the western American state of Nevada are treating the fire at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel as a case of arson. Eight people died and almost 140 were injured when fire swept through all but seven of the hotel's 30 storeys on Tuesday (10 February). Huge clouds of dense black smoke poured from three separate fires in the building, which is one of the world's largest hotels. Three months earlier, 85 people were killed in a fire at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. And, since there, there've been a number of smaller hotel fires in the city, which is America's gambling capital.
It took 400 firefighters almost two hours to bring the main fire under control. It started on the eight floor, and spread rapidly right up to the 29th floor. Thirty minutes after the main blaze had started, two smaller fires broke out in a completely separate part of the hotel. Fire officials told frantic guests on the top floors to stay in their rooms as flames climbed up the outside of the east wing, leaping from floor to floor.
Guests tried to attract firemen's attention by whatever means they could, and many tried to escape using knotted sheets. Survivors told grim tales of danger and fear.