The deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history, the Cocoanut Grove nightclub burned on November 28, 1942, killing 492 people.
Visit the Cocoanut Grove Fire website, a collaborative effort that brings together original and secondary sources from the collections of local Boston institutions (including NFPA, the Boston Fire Department, the Boston Historical Society, the Boston Fire Museum, the Boston Public Library, the City of Boston Archives, and Massachusetts General Hospital) and people interested in preserving the history of the fire. The site includes detailed information on the fire, its victims, first-hand acounts of survivors, the nightclub, as well as advances made in the medical, legal, and codes and standards fields as a results of the fire.
Historians, filmmakers, researchers, and others have covered much of the Cocoanut Grove Nightclub fire, but there is a lingering mystery about the incident too. In this video, Casey Grant offers some insight based on continued study of the tragic event.
On the 70th anniversary (in 2012) of the Cocoanut Grove fire, three survivors told their stories to NFPA Journal®. Ann Gallagher was a 16-year-old girl from NH who was in Boston with her family. Marshall Cole, another 16-year-old, was employed at the popular nightclub as a dancer. He has vivid memories of escaping the fire. Dr. Saul Davis, interviewed in 2007, also gives a harrowing account of the fire that claimed the lives of so many.
From NFPA Journal
Last Dance at the Cocoanut Grove
To those unfamiliar with the Cocoanut Grove, the name itself brings to mind palm trees, laughing crowds, coconuts, dancing and just a good place to go and enjoy oneself with friends. The Grove had all of this. But, this is not how it's remembered. In Boston, the Cocoanut Grove is etched forever in history as a city's worst nightmare, with piercing screams, wild-eyed panic, and terrible heartbreak. We look back at personal stories of those who were at The Grove that night: the patron, the employee, the firefighter, the serviceman, and the doctor.