Today in fire history: four perish, 18 injured in hotel fire

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on Sep 9, 2012

Early in the morning of September 9, 1973, a fire occurred in a 30 room, three-story hotel in Bath, Maine.  Four people were killed, and 18 others injured, including four firefighters.  The fire began with an oil-burning furnace that had originally burned coal.  The horizontal connector, the metal pipe that conducted furnace combustion gases to the chimney, was about 18 inches below a zinc plate on the ceiling.  The “normal” temperature in the room was quite hot, and this heat had dried out the wood ceiling above the zinc plate.  Eventually, a joint in the connector came apart, and hot exhaust gases escaped and ignited the ceiling above the furnace.  The fire eventually spread into the lobby, and ignited a couch, which was noticed by a hotel occupant.

Fire quickly spread up open stairways to the second and third floors, eventually, the fire became so intense that a center section of the building collapsed.  NFPA members can read the full Fire Journal article for free.