Essay On Fire In The Grove: The Cocoanut Grove Tragedy And Its Aftermath
‘Fire in the Grove: The Cocoanut Grove Tragedy and its Aftermath’ is a well written and famous book by John C. Esposito. The author presents a realistic portrayal of one of most tragic accidents of Boston in this book. Esposito elaborates how hundreds of people lost their lives and a large number of people were injured in the firetrap that occurred because of incongruous precaution and negligence of owners of the place. This paper is going to discuss the book along with exploring different related aspects of the book.
John C. Esposito presents an attention-grabbing description of Cocoanut grove fire that took place on 28th November, 1942 in the Boston. Cocoanut grove was a famous nightclub during 1930’s. This club was always crowded because big celebrities and famous people used to visit this famous nightclub. People from different parts of Massachusetts also visited the club in order to celebrate, drink, dance and enjoy their nighttime. Esposito describes this nightspot in these words “and of that generation would for years recall that “everybody went there” (Esposito, 2015, p. 3).
The nightclub included four beautifully decorated buildings. All these buildings were connected to each other in the ground floor. Exterior walls of the nightclub were made of bricks, but inner walls of the building were flammable. The author describes that the nightclub was heavily crowded on that unfortunate day because of two reasons. First reason was that it was Saturday and second and the most important reason was that Boston soccer team won a soccer match on Saturday and everybody was in a mood of celebrations.
The club had a strength of four to five hundred people, but on that day no less than thousand people were gathered there. The fire started at about 10:30 in the night in the basement and made its way in different parts of the building. People panicked and started running in different directions. Situation became out of control as everybody started trying to get out of the nightclub but very few of them succeeded.
The interior decorations of the nightclub fueled the fire and it broke out devastatingly. People started burning and hundreds of people were burnt live in the fire before firefighters could control the fire. Burned people in very crucial condition were rushed into Boston city hospital where some of them survived. Total four hundred and ninety two people lost their lives and hundreds of people were injured in this firetrap.
After mentioning the unfortunate incident, Esposito hints out about corrupt practices and nexus of politicians, mafia and rich people. He suggests that the club owner or responsible people for the incident got acquitted and they did not receive any punishment for their sinful acts. The author suggests that the nexus of the system, mafia and politicians was the main reason of this unfortunate incident, but none of them was punished for what they did to hundreds of innocent victims.
The incident of fire and disaster that took place in Boston raises several questions in the mind of readers such as: reason behind the fire, or why people took long time to come outside when fire started? Why such major tragedy occurred? Esposito mentioned about the report presented by fire commission that says “This fore will enter Boston fire department as being of unknown origin” (Esposito, 2005, p. 132). Investigation performed by the authorities reveled that not one but some safety violations together resulted into the fire disaster.
Investigating authorities talked about open electrical wires that were present in the fire scene, material used to made ceilings was fire friendly which facilitated the expansion of fire, and decorative material used by the club was also fire friendly. Presence of huge amount of alcohol helped fire to grow.
Apart from the abovementioned factors, some additional factors that are very important in regard of this firetrap are when power goes off all exit signs displayed inside the clubs were not visible as they went off also; only two exit doors were accessible by the people and rest other exists were locked; and exists had inward opening which resulted into death of several people behind the doors.
Esposito gives a detailed explanations of factors that caused this disastrous incident. The author hints out at fault floor plan, overcrowding, use of flammable materials in the club, lack of emergency exits, blocked gates, nexus of politicians with authorities as well as mafia and corruption among authorities in the contemporary Boston. Esposito have tried to present a detailed account of the incident as well as he hints out that no lesson was learnt after this unfortunate incident.
The writing style of the author is straightforward. Esposito provides each and every details of the nightclub. He describes the history of the nightclub and also introduces readers with some persons who were responsible for club operations. He hints at the materialistic approach of these people and money mindedness of club owner. The author suggests that club owner preferred money instead of safety of human lives.
The book has been written in very elaborative manner, but there are certain lacunas that could have been avoided. More details were required and photos of the incident could have been added in the book. Bibliography and footnotes could have also been added. More detailed statements of the concerned officials would have added more weight to the book. The author have failed in addressing these issues in his book.
After observing the review of the Esposito’s book, it can be concluded that the Cocoanut Grove Tragedy was disastrous and unfortunate. It was one of the worst tragic incidents of Boston. This firetrap claimed hundreds of human lives and injured hundreds. There are various factors that contributed in this mishap and this accident was completely avoidable.There was a nexus between politicians and mafia. Corrupt practices of police and local authorities were also responsible for the unfortunate mishap. It was more unfortunate that no lessons were learnt from the Cocoanut Grove Tragedy and no substantial improvements were made in the ongoing situation in the Boston.
Esposito, J. (2005). Fire in the Grove: The Cocoanut Grove tragedy and its aftermath. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.
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