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Cocoanut Grove Fire 1942 On Saturday, November 28, 1942 Boston's Cocoanut Grove nightclub was the site of one of the deadliest fires in American history. The night spot was owned by Barney Welansky who had connections to both the mayor and organized crime. It was quaintly reminiscent of Rick's Cafe Americain in the movie Casablanca--but its highly flammable tropical-style furniture and decorations made it a firetrap. There were more than 1,000 people inside although the legal capacity was 460. The fire is believed to have started when a busboy attempted to replace a light bulb in the dimly lit Melody Lounge in the lower level. He struck a match to help him see. Shortly thereafter patrons saw the palm fronds from a nearby artificial tree ignite. The fire rapidly spread along the walls and ceiling. Within five minutes the entire nightclub was ablaze. Many patrons attempted to exit through the revolving main door which quickly became jammed. Some secondary doors had been welded shut to prevent customers from leaving without paying their tabs. Other doors swung inward and made escape nearly impossible due to the crush of the crowd. All told, 492 people perished. Among the fatalities were Cowboy movie star Buck Jones and a couple who had been married earlier that same day. Welansky was convicted on multiple counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Tags: Cocoanut  Grove  Fire  1942 
Added: 29th September 2009
Views: 3865
Posted By: Lava1964
Posted by: Lava1964 on 2009-09-29 
One of my favorite sports stories is related to this fire. The undefeated Boston College football team had booked several tables in the Terrace Room in anticipation of beating huge underdog Holy Cross University that afternoon. A win would have assured BC a post-season bowl game. Instead, Holy Cross stunningly prevailed 55-12. The BC players were in no mood to celebrate. They cancelled their reservation. It was lucky for them: Everybody in the Terrace Room died in the fire.

Pretty freaky, huh?
Posted by: Jedwgrn on 2009-10-01 
Freaky indeed.

One would assume that we had (and I hope had) a door phobia (Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and this presentation) or unwillingness to accept that they (proprietors) might be stiffed in this country. Thus endangering life at the expense of not realizing that which is due. Was the Hartford Circus fire due to maintenance, careless smoking, or arson?

A great many questions?
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