Today in fire history: a dance hall fire causes the deaths of 63 people and injures 150 others

Blog Post created by paulalevesque Employee on Oct 28, 2014


On Thursday evening, October 28, 1998, a fire occurred in a nightclub in Gothenburg, Sweden.  A Halloween party was being held in the second floor hall, and it was estimated by officials that there were approximately 400 people in attendance.  According to personnel from the fire brigade, one of the survivors reported that there were so many people that it was impossible to even dance because people were crowded shoulder to shoulder.  The area had an occupancy rating of approximately 150 people.

Once the fire was extinguished, about 20 bodies were found in a small room on the northwest end of the building.  It appeared that these victims were attempting to flee the fire and were not able to make it through the door at the northwest end.  They then attempted to take refuge in the room, but were overcome by the smoke.  One officer reported that the bodies were piled approximately three feet deep in this room. A total of 64 people died in this fire, mostly from smoke inhalation.  Their ages ranged from 14 to 20 years old.  150 people were injured.  The fire brigade estimated that they rescued 40 to 50 people.

Based on the NFPA's investigation and analysis of this fire, the following significant factors were considered as having contributed to the loss of life and property in this incident:

  • • Overcrowding
  • • Lack of a sprinkler system
  • • Lack of a fire alarm system
  • • Fire ignition through arson
  • • Combustible storage in a stairwell 

To read the full report Download this Gothenburg, Sweden report.  For NFPA statistical information Download Eating and Drinking Establishments