Tragedy In The South:
The Winecoff Hotel Fire of 1946
A documentary depicting the horror of our country's deadliest hotel fire.

"Surely there's a heaven for folks that die this way..."
--Lee Roy Abernathy

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The History of the Hotel Fire

1. Hotel's Origins

2. Night of The Fire

3. Tragic Design

4. Firefighting Efforts

5. Boys From Rome

6. Accident or Arson

6. Fire Changes Codes

8. After The Fire

9. Winecoff Today

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The Tragedy of The Hotel's Design

One of the most critical factors contributing to this staggering loss of life was the design of the building itself. Based on "European" design, the hotel was a perfect square with the stairwell and elevator shafts running straight through the middle. Thin wooden doors leading to the stairwells had been left open on several floors as well as many transoms above guest rooms allowing smoke and flames to be pulled upward like a giant chimney.

When the only means of egress became impassable, guests were forced to the windows of their rooms, where they were met with precious few choices. Many fashioned sheet ropes, while others doused their rooms and themselves with toilet and bath water. Others simply awaited their fates in hopeless silence.

Copyright 2003 Glass Mountain Entertainment