VIDEOS: In the blink of an eye the Cocoanut Grove, one of Boston's swankiest nightclubs, became an unimaginable inferno — trapping hundreds of panicked victims as they jammed the club's exits.
In less than 15 minutes, 492 people were dead and another 166 injured, making the blaze the deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history. While no one knows exactly how the fire started 80 years ago on Nov. 28, 1942, its influence on fire and safety codes and on the medical treatment of burn victims still resonates.
The fire started at about 10:15 p.m. as revelers packed the club near the city's South End on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, hoping to forget about the early days of World War II for a few hours.
The first flames broke out in a basement portion of the club, known as the Melody Lounge.