Local Cocoanut Grove fire survivor remembers the 75-year-old catastrophe

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Seventy-five years ago this month more than 500 men and women perished during Boston’s infamous Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire in 1942.John Hayman of Springfield who will soon celebrate his 99th birthday has vivid memories of suffering severe burns during the Cocoanut Grove fire.

75 years ago: Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire

He told 22News so many died because the escape routes were blocked. “When we got to the top of the stairs and that’s when we found the revolving door was clogged with people completely,” Hayman explained. “There was a great door there, got back there after walking on people on the floor, that door was locked.”

Survivors remember deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history

He said miraculously moments later firefighters broke down the door. Hayman was at the Cocoanut Grove celebrating what was to be the start of his military service the following Monday.

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