Today in fire history: rooming house fire claims five lives

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on Aug 23, 2011

Massapequa_rooming-house Early in the morning of August 23, 1986, a fire began on the front porch of a rooming house located in  Massapequa, New York. ven though the facility had operated for over 10 years, it was not licensed, and consequently, no inspections had been conducted. This fire claimed 5 lives in total (4 that night, and one more several weeks later).

The Nassau County Fire Marshal’s Office determined that the fire was incendiary, and within 24 hours of the fire, a former resident of the rooming house was arrested and charged with 4 counts of murder and 1 count of arson. Other significant factors contributing to the loss of this life in this incident included:

  • Delayed detection of the fire due to inadequate fire detection system
  • The combustibility of the interior finish
  • A delay in notifying the fire department

Members can download the full investigation report, as well as an article about the incident that appeared in Fire Command. Members can also download a full report about fires in Rooming and Boarding houses. If you’re not yet an NFPA member, consider joining, access to our research is just one benefit.

-Ben Evarts