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The Fire That Changed Everything: Cocoanut Grove Witness Accounts Now Made Public07:40

This article is more than 9 years old.

It’s been 70 years since Boston’s infamous Cocoanut Grove fire, the deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history.

On Nov. 28, 1942, 492 people were killed by the inferno, believed to have been started accidentally by a busboy lighting a match while replacing a lightbulb.

Now, for the first time, transcripts of interviews with survivors have been released to the public.

The firsthand witness accounts reveal how the fire started and dispel myths about just how forthright the 16-year-old busboy at the center of the tragedy really was about his role in starting the fire.

We speak to veteran reporter Stephanie Schorow, author of the 2005 book, “The Cocoanut Grove Fire,” to find out how the 1942 tragedy reformed safety standards across the country and set historic legal precedents about criminal negligence.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Coconaut Grove Fire, Schorow will be speaking at Boston Public Library's Central Library in Copley Square on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 6 p.m.



A segment on Cocoanut Grove from the WGBH series, "Boston: The Way It Was," released in 1995:

This segment aired on October 31, 2012.