Wednesday, January 10, 2007

This Date in Fire History - Jan 8, 9, 10

Okay, so maybe I've bitten off a little more than I thought with this project. It certainly doesn't help that the sprawling and luxurious "Chez 618" is temporarily restricted to (ulp) dial-up Internet access, nor that I am trying to start a side business. It also doesn't help that for many of the fires shown on the National Fire Protection Association's list of "Key Dates in Fire History", there isn't much information available on line.

As a result, I think I'm going to scale this project back a bit, and not go nuts looking for information that just plain can't be found. On the truly major fires -- the Meridian Plazas, the DuPonts, the MGM Grands -- I'll be able to put up reasonably comprehensive posts.

On the rest of them, it will probably just be a line or two.

This may look like I'm slighting the older or lesser-known fires, but I'm really not. I have neither the time nor resources to delve as deeply into some of these fires as I may want, but keeping them alive in our collective memory is still memorializing those whose lives were affected (or ended) by them.

Jan. 8: M/V Erling Jarl passenger ship fire kills 14, Bodo, Norway, 1958. Not surprisingly, the only information I could find was in Norwegian. Which I don't speak, read, or understand.

Jan. 9: Laurier Palace movie theater fire kills 78, Montreal (QB), 1927. Most of the victims were children, which resulted in minors under the age of 16 being banned from Quebec theatres for years; the prohibition was lifted in 1961. On this one, the info is in French... but here's a photo showing the devastation left behind.

Laurier Palace, 1927

Jan. 10: Pathfinder Hotel fire kills 20, Fremont (NE), 1976. From Wikipedia:

More recently, on January 10, 1976, in downtown Fremont, the Pathfinder Hotel exploded due to a natural gas leak in the basement. At the time the hotel was being used as a nursing home. This explosion shattered windows around the city and the ensuing fire killed 18 people and destroyed most of the city block which the hotel sat on.

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