Cocoanut Grove: Within seconds, an inferno.

November 29, 1942 – The Day War Took Backseat – The Cocoanut Grove Fire In Boston

Within seconds, an inferno.
Cocoanut Grove: Within seconds, an inferno.

– NBC News Of The World – November 29, 1942 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Despite the news for this November 29th in 1942 bringing upbeat reports on progress on the War, it all took backseat to the devastating news of a fire that broke out in a Boston Night Club, killing some 492 people and becoming the single worst U.S. tragedy since the Iroquois Theater fire in Chicago of 1903.

The Cocoanut Grove was a popular nightspot in Boston, boasting an exotic South Seas interior, but one which proved fatal as the highly flammable decorations turned the entire nightclub into a raging inferno with minutes, trapping most of the patrons inside. Those who didn’t die of smoke inhalation were trampled trying to escape through exits that were locked.

The tragedy triggered a huge investigation and strict safety ordinances were enforced after. But the shock of the event lasted for years.

So the news began this day with a call for blood plasma to treat the hundreds of injured packing Boston hospitals.

There was other news – the Russians were making great strides in their surprise offensive against the Germans as well as making progress in fighting at Stalingrad. RAF bombers staged a new attack on the Italian industrial city of Turin. Allied forces were making progress in Tunisia with a final push to Bizerte.

Despite tragedy at home, the war still pressed on.

Much news, happening this November 29, 1942, as reported by NBC’s News Of The World.




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