History

The Nightclub Fire Tragedy that Influenced Health and Safety Codes Today

In November of 1942 as World War II persisted in Eastern Europe and President Franklin Roosevelt waited anxiously to hear about the progress of a Los Alamos nuclear lab, a group of revelers met on a cold Boston night to celebrate.  It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving and the mood was festive as an estimated thousand people crowded into a club in the Bay Village area of Boston called Cocoanut Grove.  At around 10:15, the pianist Goody Goodelle performed on a revolving stage adorned in artificial palm trees in the dimly lit Melody Lounge downstairs.  Official reports state that a possible origin of the fire at the Cocoanut Grove stemmed from a match lit by Stanley Tomaszewski, a 16-year-old busboy, to investigate an extinguished low-powered light bulb that was used to illuminate the basement lounge.  The flames that emanated from that match were to set off a series of horrific events that would lead to 492 people, 166 injured, and the infamous title of the deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history.

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The History of Fire Engines: From Primitive Pumps to Advanced Technology

historic fire engine

The iconic red fire engine that you often see roaring down the city streets has undergone a great deal of change throughout history.  In early civilizations, the emergence of permanent houses and the use of fire to heat, cook, and light these houses brought about the risk of house fires.  Naturally, people sought a means to extinguish the blazes to protect their families, resulting in hundreds of years of new apparatus designs, innovations and able-bodied men and women to operate them.  Here is a brief history of fire engines; how we went from the bucket brigade to the sophisticated selection of apparatus we have today.

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