The Cocoanut Grove Disaster that Shaped the History of Boston

A 15 minutes disaster that happened in Boston 75 years ago and people seems to forget. A rapid inferno consumed an entire nightclub, Cocoanut Grove with people inside. The 1942 disaster is the second deadliest building fire in the American history. Well, the dust has settled, and hardly can people remember the exact location of the night-club. Today, the area is filled with Bay Village apartments. The sands of time have covered an event of utmost importance locally and internationally. The inferno consumed 492 people (mostly young adults), and an additional 400 were hospitalized. Reports show that the names of the deceased filled 11 pages. It’s the second worst disaster after Chicago’s Iroquois Theatre blaze that claimed 602 lives. Worst of all it was a non-natural disaster.

How it happened

Cocoanut Grove was among the largest nightclubs in Boston at the time. On that particular night, it was estimated to hold more than 1,000 people. However, its legal capacity was 460. According to the Globe, a busy boy had lit a match with an attempt to find the socket. The fire spread through the basement along the ceiling. Within minutes, the fire had spread through the first floor. Everyone panicked and rushed to the doors. However, most of them were closed to prevent people from skipping with their bills. Most of the survivors were in the lower basement. The club burned so fast that there is only one picture of the raging flames.

The Silver Lining

The quick spread of the fire was as a result of an extremely flammable gas that leaked from an air conditioning system. As a result, it was passed that buildings should have automatic sprinklers and illuminated exit signs. Revolving doors were banned. However, their use would comprise of an additional two doors adjacent to them. The two doors should open on the outside. Medical response to burn victims revolutionized.
On Saturday, over 400 people attended the 75th-anniversary event. Marshall, a local surgeon and the Coconut Grove Memorial Committee chairman, hopes to have a free-standing memorial built in the nearby Statler Park. This history is far too significant to get lost.