Cocoanut Grove survivors tell their stories
On the 70th anniversary of the Cocoanut Grove fire, three survivors tell their stories. Ann Gallagher was a 16-year-old girl from New Hampshire who was in Boston with her family. Marshall Cole, another 16-year-old, was employed at the popular nightclub as a dancer. He has vivid memories of escaping the fire. Dr. Saul Davis, interviewed in 2007, also gives a harrowing account of the fire that claimed the lives of so many. Their first-person accounts have been part of an organized effort by the Cocoanut Grove Coalition to gather as much historical information as possible. Read more in this special report from NFPA Journal®, the official member magazine of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Survivors Ann Gallagher, Marshall Cole, and Saul Davis
NFPA Journal – Cocoanut Grove Survivors tell their stories.[YouTube video (11:46 min.)]. Quincy : National Fire Protection Association, 2012. Interviewees: Saul Davis, Ann Clark Gallagher, and Marshal Cole, survivors.
Survivor Saul Davis
Papadopoulos M. Easton doctor recalls surviving Cocoanut Grove fire. [YouTube video (2:57 min.)]. Brockton (Mass.) : The Enterprise of Brockton Mass., 2007. Interviewee: Saul Davis.
Survivor John Rizzo
Parcher A. Cocoanut Grove survivor shares his story. [YouTube video (2:08 min.)]. Lynn (Mass.) : The Daily Item of Lynn Mass., 2012. Interviewee: John Rizzo.
Parcher A. Lynn man looks back on 1942 nightclub fire that killed 500. Lynn (Mass.) : The Daily Item of Lynn Mass., 2012. Available at: http://www.itemlive.com/articles/2012/11/28/news/news03.txt
Survivor Joseph Dreyfus tells his story
Joseph Dreyfus wasn’t a regular visitor to nightspots but not too many medical students are. Neither he nor his wife, Adele, even enjoyed liquor. But, because, on this Saturday evening a friend of a friend was leaving for overseas duty in the Armed Services the couple was part of a group of eight visiting the Cocoanut Grove for a farewell dinner for the departing serviceman. Mr. and Mrs. Dreyfus had never before been inside the nightclub.
Survivor Hewson Gray tells his story
Hilda and Hewson Gray, together with three other couples, arrived at the Cocoanut Grove slightly later than originally planned but their dinner reservations were nevertheless honored. They were not, however, shown to a table in the area of the Dining room for which they had expressed preference but instead were ushered to a table against the rear wall of the room, close to the entertainer’s stage door. Happily they had a clear view of both the stage and the dance floor.
Survivor Louise Bouvier tells her story
There were six in the party journeying from Southbridge, Massachusetts for an evening of fun and merriment in the “big city”. Louise was escorted by Steve Casavant. Steve’s sister Rita and her husband Hiram Bellows together with Ray Martell and his wife Ruth completed the group. They entered the Cocoanut Grove through the Piedmont street revolving door and in spite of having no reservations, were seated for dinner in the main dining room. Louise remembers the club being “very crowded, mobbed, mobbed”.