Today in fire  history: hotel fire kills 24

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on Jul 26, 2011

NJ-Hotel-Fire On July 26, 1980, a fire occurred in the late evening at a hotel.  Most of the guests at this hotel were people who had a cognitive disability, or people who were elderly.  Of the 38 people in the building at the time, 24 perished.  The fire was probably caused by a ground fault in which an ungrounded conductor came into contact with the metal armor of the type AC cable. The fire began in a concealed space, which delayed detection of the fire by occupants.

Other factors contributing to the severity of the incident included:

  • The lack of an early-warning detection system
  • Lack of a second means of egress from the second and third floors
  • Louvers on guest-room doors, which allowed smoke to spread into the rooms

NFPA members can download the full fire journal article which contains NFPA's investigation of the incident.  Those interested in more information about hotel and motel fires can download NFPA's free fact sheet, and members can read a full report.

-Ben Evarts