|Happy Land Social Club
Bronx, NY, March 25, 1990 (87 fatalities)
The club was operating in violation of the city's regulations
and was ordered to vacate the premises based on building
and fire code deficiencies. This incident was the worst
fatal fire in New York city since the Triangle Shirtwaist
Company fire in 1911, and the worst in the United States
since the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire in 1977.
Factors contributing to the loss of life include the following:
The existing automatic sprinkler system was not extended
to the first floor, and one of the branch lines on the second
floor was plugged, further limiting coverage on the second
Doorways from the building were positioned at the north
and south ends of the front of the club and discharged onto
the sidewalk. The south door was the main entrance and the
only available exit for patrons.
The incendiary fire located at the entrance immediately
blocked the only available exit from the club. In addition
to the accelerant, combustible interior finish was a factor
in fire and smoke spread beyond the area of origin. As a
result, smoke and heat quickly spread to the second floor,
via open stairs, where most of the victims were found.
to Club Fires