Remembering Ann Marie Gallagher and the unsolved mystery of the Cocoanut Grove Fire

Blog Post created by laurenbackstrom Employee on Jun 6, 2017


On the 70th anniversary of the Cocoanut Grove fire a few years back, three survivors told NFPA their stories. Ann Marie Gallagher was a 16-year-old girl from New Hampshire who was in Boston with her family, and was one of the survivors who we featured in the video above. Her parents, her boyfriend, and his father were among the 492 people the fire killed. Today's Boston Globe shares Ann Marie's story as she recently passed away on May 24th at age 90 from complications of a fall. 


Also today, during NFPA Conference & Expo, Casey Grant led an education session on the unsolved mystery of the Cocoanut Grove fire to a jam-packed room of intrigued attendees. Casey shared information on how fast the fire spread through the entire building, some of the existing theories on it's ignition source, and the fire modeling exercises that students from Worcester Polytechnic University have conducted over the last several years to piece together information from the historic fire that has been helping to determine what happened, and what may or may not have made a difference that night. all of the information Casey has been able to collect and synthesize can be found on a newly created website, for others to review. He keeps an open call for missing data that will help complete the picture as well. 


Download Casey's slide presentation (PDF) from the Conference website.