History Of The Cocoanut Grove Nightclub Fire

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Cocoanut Grove Nightclub Fire, 1942 The Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire happened on November 28, 1942. The fire would kill 492 people, while sending 166 others to hospitals around Boston. It is estimate that over 1000 people were in the nightclub the night of the fire, well surpassing the occupant load set for 460 people. The Cocoanut Grove fire is the deadliest fire to have ever occurred in a nightclub. The fire impacted many different people, not just including the ones who were involved with the fire directly. The nightclub was extremely popular at the time and many celebrities and sports stars would regularly attend the Cocoanut Grove. Members of the Boston Red Sox baseball team and the Boston Bruins Hockey team were regularly seen at the …show more content…

Solomon thought he was surely unconquerable but would later find out he was not when he was shot and killed in a rival Boston club. Barnett Welansky would eventually buy the club in 1933 and was the owner of the club when the when the disastrous fire happened. The building consisted of many different bars, lounges, and dance floors that were all connected to one another. Welansky hired a designer to install all of the decorations that were inside the building that eventually helped in aiding the fire. The building was full of artificial palm trees, heavy draperies, and a retractable roof that could be pulled back at night to look up at the stars. The decorations had not been treated with any type of fire retardant spray or anything of that …show more content…

The smoke was thick, black, and extremely toxic. As in most fires, the most significant cause of death was due to smoke inhalation. Eye-witnesses say that the flames from the fire seemed to wave through the air instead of spreading along the surface of the building. The source of ignition has still not been determined to this day. There are multiple theories on how the fire started but no exact answer to that question has been found. Early on everyone thought the bus boy working the night of the fire was the ignition source. The Melody Lounge was an intimate place with limited lighting and a man decided to remove one of the light bulbs from the palm trees to get his table even more intimate. Once the couple left, the bus boy’s job was to reinsert the light bulb into the palm tree. The bus boy, Stanley Tomaszewski, could not see to insert a new light bulb into one of the artificial palm trees in the Melody Lounge, so he struck a match to give himself light. According to this ignition theory, the bus boy did not see that he had accidentally caught the palm tree on fire when he struck the match. Eye-witness testimonies did not all sound the same, as some people said the fire started in the palm tree and others said they saw flames light the cloth covering the ceiling. Tomaszewski was not found guilty due to all of the other possible ignition sources and the unanswered questions that came with them.

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