11/28/1942 Cocoanut Grove night club fire killed 492 in Boston, MA and 166 people were injured as fire swept through the nightclub, some patrons died at their tables as toxic smoke rapidly spread through the club. Panicked victims ran to the only exit they knew, a revolving door that jammed or doors that opened inward. The fire swept through Boston’s most popular night club, the Cocoanut Grove in less than 30 minutes, traveling through the four main rooms. The cause of the fire was an apparent spark which ignited the combustible decorations on the ceiling. The Club consisted of a group of four buildings connected on the ground floor. The Melody lounge, kitchen, and storage rooms located in the basement were constructed out of reinforced concrete and brick masonry. Walls in the foyer were covered with artificial leather over structural concrete. The Melody Lounge was also decorated with artificial palm trees with lights. An addition to the Club, the Broadway Lounge, contained plywood walls covered with artificial leather and had a wood floor that was connected by a passageway. The exits from the lounge included a main door and passageway to the Main Dining Room. The front exits included a revolving door and a panic fire door that was locked to prevent non-paying customers from entering. Eight days before the fire a Boston Fire Department fire inspector had conducted a “match test” on the decorations who found them to be “non-flammable” and concluded that the club was in “good” condition. Notable code changes from this tragedy include: exiting requirements, combustible interior finish materials, emergency lighting, and automatic sprinkler protection. The definition of places of assembly was expanded to include places that similar to the Cocoanut Grove.
11/28/1889 Boston, MA the Thanksgiving Day fire took the lives of four firefighters and one retired firefighter; the fire went to eight-alarms, including mutual aid. “They were all killed by falling walls of the Ames Building, corner of Kingston and Bedford Streets during this massive fire. This was the General Alarm Fire for which Box 52 was sounded at 0800 hours (Bedford & Lincoln Streets) and was also known as the “Thanksgiving Day Fire,” the Steamer of Engine Co.26, Aerial truck of Ladder Co 13 and the Water Tower were also destroyed, and the Steamer of Engine Co. 22 was badly damaged.” The widows got $300 in pensions.
11/28/1947 two Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighter died from injuries they sustained when the roof they were operating on collapsed during a five-alarm fire.
11/28/1959 a Douglaston-Queens, New York (FDNY) firefighter “died from injuries sustained in the performance of his duties at Box 6995, Queens.”
11/28/1976 a Lockport, IL firefighter died while fighting a fire at a thirty-six-lane bowling alley around 10:00 p.m. Firefighters advanced a hoseline from a tanker, there were no fire hydrants nearby, the firefighters had just reached the seat of the fire at the far end of the building when the water supply ran out. As the firefighters turned back, they realized that flames were in the ceiling above them. As firefighter were following the hose line back out of the building, the fire caused the truss roof to collapse. Two firefighters were able to escape with minor injuries, but one was trapped less than thirty feet from the exit and killed by falling debris.
11/28/1996 4:30 p.m. a fire in Branford, Connecticut carpet store and warehouse killed a firefighter when the building’s wood roof trusses collapsed on seven firefighters engaged an interior attack. The building 60’ wide 120’ ordinary and wood-frame structure had lightweight wood trusses roof with a 60’ clear span, and did not have any fire detection or suppression systems. The fire started in the store’s office area. Initially fighters reported of smoke coming from the roof of a carpet store found light smoke showing near the roof eaves.
11/28/2016 a Dirección de Bomberos Tijuana firefighter died “after becoming trapped in a collapse with another firefighter. The members on scene were able to get the other firefighter out, but with 150 firefighters on scene, they were unable to him.”
11/28/2018 a Logansport, Indiana “fire that killed six people, including four children, is being investigated as a possible criminal case. The call for the fire came out around 1:50 a.m. in the 4300 block of Pottawatomie Road on the east side of the city. They rescued two adults, a mother and an adult son, who are now at the hospital. They’re expected to survive. At a press conference, authorities provided an update identifying the ages of those killed. The children who died are a 3-month old boy, 1-year-old girl, 3-year-old girl and 10-year-old girl. The 3-month-old, 1-year-old and 3-year-old were children of a 25-year-old mother, who was also found dead. Police also found a 42-year-old male, who is the father of the 10-year-old girl… When firefighters arrived at the home, they went on the attack and tried to get inside and rescue the others, but they were unsuccessful. The home was 80 percent involved with heavy fire at the time.
The house is in a rural, non-hydrated area, so they had to truck in water to battle the flames. Crews were out of water within five minutes, and they had to stop fighting the fire until more water could be transported to them. Also, freezing temperatures made it difficult.”
11/28/1986 Riverside, CA a fire in a patient’s room at the Riverside General Hospital killed five patients and gutted a patient’s room. Smoke spread horizontally and vertically into smoke zones adjacent to the area of fire origin and heavy smoke-filled corridors and in several other patient rooms because nurses did not close the door to the room of origin.
11/28/1922 Covington, GA High Point School House fire left two dead and thirty-eight injured while ninety-nine children were engaged in studies.