The Fire That Changed Everything: Cocoanut Grove Witness Accounts Now Made Public
It’s been 70 years since Boston’s infamous Cocoanut Grove fire, the deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history.
On Nov. 28, 1942, 492 people were killed by the inferno, believed to have been started accidentally by a busboy lighting a match while replacing a lightbulb.
Now, for the first time, transcripts of interviews with survivors have been released to the public.
The firsthand witness accounts reveal how the fire started and dispel myths about just how forthright the 16-year-old busboy at the center of the tragedy really was about his role in starting the fire.
We speak to veteran reporter Stephanie Schorow, author of the 2005 book, “The Cocoanut Grove Fire,” to find out how the 1942 tragedy reformed safety standards across the country and set historic legal precedents about criminal negligence.
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Coconaut Grove Fire, Schorow will be speaking at Boston Public Library’s Central Library in Copley Square on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 6 p.m.
- Stephanie Schorow, author of “The Coconaut Grove Fire” and “Boston On Fire: A History of Fires And Firefighting In Boston“
- Boston Fire Historical Society: The Coconaut Grove Fire
- National Fire Protection Association: Last Dance At The Coconaut Grove
- National Fire Protection Association: Searching For Answers To The Coconaut Grove Fire Of 1942 (PDF)
Other stories from this show:
WBUR's Sacha Pfeiffer is co-hosting Radio Boston while Meghna Chakrabarti is on maternity leave.
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