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70 Years Later Cocoanut Grove Still Considered Deadliest Night Club Fire

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The plaque at the site of the Cocoanut Grove Fire. (Photo courtesy: WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Mark Katic)

The plaque at the site of the Cocoanut Grove Fire. (Photo courtesy: WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic)

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BOSTON (CBS) – To this day, the Cocoanut Grove fire that killed 492 people in downtown Boston is still considered the deadliest night club fire in United States history.

Wednesday marks the 70th anniversary of that fire.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic reports 

Today, the former site of the restaurant-supper club is a small parking lot, surrounded by condos and businesses. A bronze plaque on Piedmont Street is the only sign of the deadly fire.

The plaque reads “Phoenix out of the Ashes.”  But what has changed in 70 years?

Studies of the fire showed inadequate design and changed fire codes across the country.

Chris Jelenewicz of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers says many of those inside that night never had a chance.

“When people started to exit through the revolving door, the revolving door got blocked and bodies just started to pile up behind this revolving door,” Jelenewicz told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic.

The fire led to laws banning flammable material, exit signs being visible and easier ways to get out.

It also led to the drug Penicillin being used to treat burn victims.

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