10 Most Devastating Fires and Explosions in U.S. History

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Image From U.S. Army Signal Corps, Boston Public Library

7. The Cocoanut Grove Disaster

As it was the first Thanksgiving weekend since the U.S. had entered World War II, many people in Boston, Massachusetts, were eager to let their hair down. The Cocoanut Grove was one of Boston’s most popular nightspots, so on November 28, 1942, the club was at twice its legal capacity. Due to a disastrous mix of poor wiring, being filled with highly flammable plastic trees and a busboy with a match, it would rip through the nightclub in only 15 minutes when a fire broke out.

Although the tragedy claimed the lives of 492, many positives came from that deadly evening. Not only did the aftermath help demonstrate the value of the new blood banks, but it also aided in important advances in the treatment of burn victims. In addition, it created many new fire-safety laws for public establishments.

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