Atlanta, GA Underground Fire, June 1980

Atlanta GA jefferson hotel fire 6-28-1980.jpg


Atlanta (AP) -- Fire raged out of control through Underground Atlanta for more than six hours this morning, damaging several businesses and an abandoned hotel.
The blaze, reported at 2:43 a.m., was brought under control by more than 100 firemen about 9 a.m., said Fire Department dispatcher Richard Baker.
One firefighter was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation, a hospital spokeswoman said.
The fire was discovered when a waitress at Club Caraibe, a nightclub in the subterranean complex of nightspots and specialty shops, smelled smoke, said Shirley Longchamps, the club's co-owner.
Mrs. Longchamps said she and her husband then saw smoke pouring from the ceiling of the nightclub. She believed the fire started in a restaurant on the floor above her club, she said. Firefighters said this morning the cause of the fire was still unknown.
Customers at the Club Caraibe were evacuated without panic, Mrs. Longchamps said.
No flames could be seen at street level at first, but dense smoke poured from several entrances of the underground complex. Later, flames could be seen shooting from the old Jefferson Hotel's third and fourth floors.
Dante Stephensen, president of the Underground Atlanta Merchants Association, said the hotel had been closed and boarded up since the early 1970s and was targeted for renovation.
Atlanta Fire Bureau Director R. B. Sprayberry said damage estimates were unavailable, but he added,
"The building probably will be condemned by the building department." Many shops and restaurants in the complex are on the bottom two floors of the Jefferson Hotel building.
Mrs. Longchamps said both her nightclub and the adjacent Castel d'Haiti, which she also owns with her husband, were damaged.
Other businesses which appeared damaged included the Hideaway Club, the Tutti-Fruitti Restaurant, a T-shirt shop and another restaurant, according to Dan Felton, a maintenance man at Dante's Down-The-Hatch restaurant.

Alton Telegraph Illinois 1980-06-28


Underground Atlanta

Yes, this is the event that I remember influencing the closing of Underground Atlanta... by the time I arrived in Atlanta, Fall of 1980, UA was already pretty much defunct, and once again generally forgotten by the locals I knew at that time.