Revere Hotel marks the 75th anniversary of the tragic Cocoanut Grove fire

BOSTON — The Revere Hotel hosted a solemn gathering on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, with survivors of the tragic fire that killed more than 490 people in the Cocoanut Grove dinner club.

Revere Hotel Tim Brett hosted several survivors of the Cocoanut Grove fire including Marshall Cole, shown in these photos that were taken by Bill Brett.

The raging fire started in the basement of the restaurant late on Saturday, Nov. 28, 1942, and quickly spread throughout the structure at 17 Piedmont St., which is now the site of the Revere Hotel.

Even with exits blocked and decor and decorations that allowed the fire to spread quickly, the tragedy could have been worse, according to a city history. A crew of firefighters were about a block away fighting a car fire just as patrons started to flee the burning club. Also, employees knew of other exits including windows. More than 115 burn victims were taken to Massachusetts General Hospital in the first two hours of the fire.

Cole, who was just a teen and performing as a tap dancer at the club, talked about his experience that fateful night 75 years ago as others reviewed the displays at the hotel.

The fire, one of the deadliest in the country’s history, brought about safety protocols and changes that are still in place today.

All photos by Bill Brett

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