#TBT From The NFPA Archives: 1931 North Carolina Prison Fire

Blog Post created by jrodowicz Employee on Mar 7, 2019

Pictured above are the charred ruins of a prison stockade near Kenansville, N.C.

On Saturday, March 7th 1931, eleven prisoners were trapped in their cells and died as fire destroyed the entire structure. The county investigation apparently ended with a coroner’s verdict stating that no criminal negligence was attached to any person and that the fire started from an unknown origin.

What was eventually referred to as “The Duplin Incident” sparked debate and increased awareness of the antiquated prisons located in the region. Governor Gardner of North Carolina was prompted to issue a statement appealing to the legislature to approve a bill that would allow construction of a more modern and less flammable prison facility.


For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to the  NFPA Research Library & Archives. The NFPA Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic. 

Library staff are available to answer research questions from members and the general public. 


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