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Coconut Groove Fire Incident - Research Paper Example

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Cocoanut Grove Fire Incident Name: Institution: Introduction In the year 1942, one of Boston’s most popular destinations was The Cocoanut Grove Club. This club was suitable for night revelers owing to its strategic location at street level, in addition to the intimate environment provided by a small parlor in the building’s lower level…
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Coconut Groove Fire Incident

Download file to see previous pages... This, among other design flaws and failures to take safety measures into consideration, led to the tragic incident. This paper seeks to give an in depth analysis of the events that led to the fire, and changes executed by fire and safety departments across America to avoid a repeat of the tragedy. The Cocoanut Grove Fire and Potential Causes To understand why the Cocoanut Grove fire was not easily contained, and why it claimed so many lives, it is imperative to get an idea of its original layout. This facility had three exits, on the Shawmut, Piedmont and Broadway sides (Boston Fire Historical Society, n.d). The building’s main entrance comprised of a single revolving door on the Piedmont Street side. The entrance opened into Cocoanut Grove’s lobby, while the way into the Melody Lounge, in the lower level, was through a single stairwell from the reception area. There were no other entrances or exits from this part of the Night Club. The exit to Shawmut Street was positioned centrally along the main club area’s wall. Another entrance along this wall, and bordering the performance stage was closed at all times. The third exit was on the side of the new Broadway Cocktail Lounge. This exit comprised of just one door, which unfortunately opened inward. Another contributory factor, to the massive loss of life, was that all other exits that could have enabled patrons to escape were either obscured or locked. For instance, had the door on the side of Piedmont Street been open during the incident, Melody lounge patrons could have exited without having to go back to the reception area (Beller & Sapochetti, 2000). Another imperative safety flaw noted was that, exit points from the upper level dressing areas were through stairs, which ended at the Shawmut side door that was always locked. Additionally, windows on the Shawmut and Piedmont building sides were obscured, making them virtually invisible for patrons inside the facility. Further, the night club’s interior had numerous decorations, made of flammable materials. Some of these materials included fabrics on the ceiling as well as artificial leather used on bars and walls. To make matters worse, the facility had false walls and suspended ceilings throughout, covering the building initial fixtures. There were also artificial palms, for decorative purposes and these were not only in the night club, but also in the Melody Lounge at the basement level. The palm trees’ capacity to burn was accentuated by incorporation of electrical lighting and its affiliated wiring. The lower leveled Melody Parlor also had highly flammable rattan wood coverings on the walls, and most of the furniture in the entire facility had artificial leather covering (Beller & Sapochetti, 2000). Allegedly, a mere eight days prior to the tragic fire, inspectors from Boston’s fire department had scrutinized the facility. In their report, these inspectors indicated that there were sufficient exits, no combustible decorations and enough fire extinguishers to put out a fire, in case of one. Apparently, the only deficit found by the inspectors was the absence of a steel fire barrier between the dining area and the Broadway Lounge. It is crucial to note that, following the facility expansion through inclusion of the Broadway Lounge, the club’s management sent an application for a restaurant license to the town council. Under the new terms of operation, the Cocoanut ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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