Share your interesting Fire Facts of the Day!!

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December 5th, 1876 Fire at Brooklyn Theater kills 295, trampled or burned to death
Since I clearly didn't know what day yesterday was here is yesterdays:

December 6th 1907 - The Monongah Mining disaster happened in Monongah, West Virginia killing 361 (some sources say 362. The explosion thought to have been caused by the ignition of methane (also called "firedamp") ignited the coal dust in mines number 6 and 8.
December 7th 1946 – A fire at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia kills 119 people, the deadliest hotel fire in U.S. history. The fire prompted immediate changes in building codes. The Hotel was built in 1913 and labeled "absolutely fireproof" - ironically it was built without sprinkler systems, fire escapes or even an alarm system. On the night of the fire the hotel was filled to capacity with 280 guests. Around 3am an elevator operator noticed the smell of smoke around the 5th floor. Unfortunately, the fire had already engulfed the 3rd, 4th & 5th floor.

By the time fire trucks arrived, many guests were already on the verge of jumping and many lept to their deaths moments before ladders reached their windows. Fear had reached such a fevered pitch that panic-strickened guests became desperate, and nothing short of a human rain shower ensued. Several firefighters were injured after being knocked off their ladders by falling bodies. Mothers hurled their babies from windows only to follow them to their deaths.

Perhaps the most tragic of these victims were the thirty teenage children who lost their lives and the elderly Winecoffs, who had built the Winecoff and had resided in the hotel since its inception.

A mattress found on the 3rd floor gave rise to the conclusion that a guest had dropped a cigarette.

One of the most critical factors contributing to this staggering loss of life was the design of the building itself. Based on "European" design, the hotel was a perfect square with the stairwell and elevator shafts running straight through the middle. Thin wooden doors leading to the stairwells had been left open on several floors as well as many transoms above guest rooms allowing smoke and flames to be pulled upward like a giant chimney.

information from:
December 8th, 1994 - Fire in cinema in Karamay China, 325 killed. The theater was hosting 1000 children and teachers. When the fire broke out they were ordered to stay seated in order for the communist officials to walk out first. Of the 325 people who lost their lives 288 of them were children, most of them were considered to be the top of their class. The fire is believe to have started when the spot lights either short circuited or fell igniting the curtain. The fire engulfed the auditorium within several minutes.

December 8th, 1881 - Vienna's Ring Theater destroyed by fire, kills between 640-850. Several thousand theater goers packed into their seats for a 7pm show. A lamplighter backstage accidentally got too close to a highly flammable painted canvas. The fire continued to engulf the backstage area while the screams were completely muffled by the heavy stage curtain, and the theatergoers continued to wait for the show to begin. As main curtain caught fire, the guests began to panic and run towards the exits, at the same time someone shut down the gas lit lanterns to prevent an explosion. The guests could not find their way to safety and many were trampled to death.

December 8th, 1863 - Jesuit Church of La Compana in Santiago Chile catches fire, 2,000-3,000 die in panic. December 8th was a celebration feast of the Immaculate Conception, one of the most popular festivities of the religious calendar, and the temple was cover with a many gas lights and wall coverings. In the main altar, a large statue of the virgin Mary stood over a half-moon that in itself was a huge candelabra. That night, the fire started a few minutes before 7 PM, when a gas lamp at the top of the main altar ignited some of the veils that adorned the walls. Somebody tried to put it out by smothering it with another cloth, but managed to only make the fire jump over to the rest of the veils and from there on to the wood roof. The mostly women attendees panicked and tried to escape but the side doors had been closed in order to leave space to accommodate more people (they only could be opened inwards), leaving the main entrance as the only exit.

The big hoop skirts worn at the time made escape very difficult if not impossible, causing the people at the front to fall down and to be trampled by the ones behind. Very soon the main entrance was blocked by a human wall of bodies, impeding both the exit of the ones trapped inside, and entrance to the rescuers. The main tower of the church was built of wood (while the rest of the church was solid masonry) and finally collapsed inwards around 10 PM, putting an end to the few remaining survivors.

The tragedy, and the fact that one of the contributing factors was the lack of an organized fire-brigade, motivated José Luis Claro y Cruz, to organize the first Volunteer Firemen's Corps in Santiago, on December 20 of the same year. Fire brigades in Chile, even today, are still made up only of unpaid volunteers.

Information gathered from New York Times & Wikipedia
December 9th, 2006 - Moscow Hospital Fire The fire began on the 2nd floor of a drug rehabilitation center in the very early hours of the morning. 45 people lost their lives that night and another died from injuries sustained in the fire a few days later.

The fire was found to have started in a kitchen on the second floor in a wooden cabinet, and is believed to be arson. The main emergency exit was gated and lock. The fire department received the call at 1:30 in the morning but by the time they had arrived, the trapped women, including two hospital employees were already deceased

Sources: Digital Journal & CNN
Christmas Day in 2000

309 people were killed in fire that occurred during a Christmas party at a disco on the city of Luoyang. Most of the dead were party-goers trapped on the forth floor and construction workers renovating the second and third floors. The fire was caused by a welding accident and was blamed on "carelessness" in carrying out the renovations. The death toll was as high as it was because many of the emergency exits were locked and the stairwells were blocked with iron gates. The only way out was a single elevator.


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