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Today in fire history: incendiary in a hotel fire causes the deaths of 15 people and injures 50 others

Blog Post created by paulalevesque Employee on Oct 18, 2014

October181984
On Thursday, October 18, 1984, an incendiary fire started on the third floor of the Alexander Hamilton Hotel in Paterson, New Jersey resulting in the deaths of 15 persons and injuries to over 50 persons.  The fire was confined to the third floor of the eight story steel frame fire resistive building, although products of combustion traveled to upper floors where the majority of the deaths occurred.

The hotel was a combination transient/residential hotel with 169 guest rooms or living suites on the upper six floors.  Although equipped with 3 enclosed stairways and a smoke detection system, the stairway doors were not closed and allowed early failure of the exit system due to smoke and heat spread.  Vertical ventilation shafts servicing the bathrooms of each guest room also spread smoke to the upper story guest rooms.

To learn more about this fire NFPA's Fire Investigations.

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