Today in fire history: Cocoanut Grove night clubfire kills 492

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on Nov 28, 2011

On the night of November 28, 1942, fire swept through a popular nightclub in Boston, Massachusetts, the Cocoanut Grove.  In under 30 minutes, the fire left 492 people dead or dying.  According to NFPA’s initial investigation report, the tragedy was not caused by deficiencies in fire safety laws, but in proper enforcement of those laws.  The investigation into the fire revealed major code violations, including overcrowding, locked exit doors, inward swinging doors, and flammable decorations.  Many deaths would have been avoided had there been adequate exits. 

NFPA members can read the original investigation report, as well as several articles and investigations from later years.  All site visitors can read an NFPA Journal cover story about the tragedy.

Even now, the Cocoanut Grove fire symbolizes the need for strict enforcement of strong fire codes.