Atlanta, GA Winecoff Hotel Fire, Dec 1946
The Winecoff Hotel fire of December 7, 1946 was the deadliest hotel fire in United States history, killing 119 hotel occupants, including the hotel's owners. Located at 176 Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the Winecoff Hotel was advertised as "absolutely fireproof." While the hotel's steel structure was indeed protected against the effects of fire, the hotel's interior finishes were combustible, and the building's exit arrangements consisted of a single stairway serving all fifteen floors. All of the hotel's occupants above the fire's origin on the third floor were trapped, and the fire's survivors either were rescued from upper-story windows or jumped into nets held by firemen. The fire was notable for the number of victims who jumped to their deaths. A photograph of one survivor's fall won the 1947 Pulitzer Prize for Photography. The fire, which followed the June 5, 1946 La Salle Hotel fire in Chicago with 61 fatalities, and the June 19, 1946 Canfield Hotel fire in Dubuque, Iowa with 19 fatalities, spurred significant changes in North American building codes, most significantly requiring multiple protected means of egress and self-closing fire-resistive doors for guest rooms in hotels.
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