Support the news

Remembering The Cocoanut Grove Fire 75 Years Later07:13
Download

Play
Boston police and firemen watch rear entrance to the “Melody Lounge” section of the Cocoanut Grove Night Club, Nov. 29, 1942. Debris from broken chairs, table and personal effects of some guests of the club when the fire broke out last night litter sidewalk and gutter. Over 400 people perished.  (AP Photo)
Boston police and firemen watch rear entrance to the “Melody Lounge” section of the Cocoanut Grove Night Club, Nov. 29, 1942. Debris from broken chairs, table and personal effects of some guests of the club when the fire broke out last night litter sidewalk and gutter. Over 400 people perished. (AP Photo)

Seventy-five years ago a fire broke out at the Cocoanut Grove Club in Boston's Bay Village. The fire killed 492 people, making it the deadliest nightclub fire in American history.

One survivor was 98-year-old John Haymond, who lives in Wilbraham. He was at the Grove that night with his girlfriend. In the chaos, people became trapped trying to escape out of the front of the club, which had a revolving door. Haymond said he ran to one of the back doors of the club to try to escape.

"The door was locked and I figured this was the end of the line. Just about at the time that I was ready to pass out the fireman broke that door down," he said. "I got out and was able to walk to the road and we went to the hospital."

Haymond recovered but told us that his girlfriend passed away in the hospital.

His recollections are similar to those that were revealed in 2012 when transcripts of police interviews with survivors were made public. In 2012, we spoke about what we learned from those police transcripts and what mysteries still remain about the fire.

Guests

Stephanie Schorow, reporter and author of the 2005 book, “The Cocoanut Grove Fire." She tweets @stephschorow.

John Haymond, survivor of the Cocoanut Grove fire.

This segment aired on November 28, 2017.

Related:

Meghna Chakrabarti Twitter Host, On Point
Meghna Chakrabarti is the host of On Point.

More…

Zoë Mitchell Twitter Producer and Studio Director
Zoë Mitchell is a Radio Boston producer and studio director.

More…

+Join the discussion
TwitterfacebookEmail

Support the news