Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This Day in History November 28, 1942

The Cocoanut Grove in Boston, MA was one of the most elegant nightclubs of its time.  During the summer, the roof could be electrically rolled back so that people could dance under the stars. On this date in 1942, some time after 10 P.M., a young couple wanted some privacy.  So they unscrewed a light bulb.  A 16-year-old busboy was instructed to replace the light, and so he lit a match so he could see what he was doing.  Shortly thereafter, a flame was spotted on the satin ceiling, and people were amused to try to see the waiters put the fire out with seltzer water.

The temperature was 28 degrees, and the air was dry.  A short ways away, firefighters were putting out flames in an automobile, and they saw smoke at the nightclub.  Eventually, 187 firefighters, 26 engine companies, five ladder companies, three rescue companies, and one water tower were used in the fighting of this fire.  Meanwhile, the fire was spreading quickly inside the club, but an employee insisted no one leave without paying their check.  Eventually, about 500 were killed in this tragedy.

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