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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Investigation: Accident or Arson?

By the time Mayor Hartsfield arrived at the scene, nothing remained but smoldering embers and the smell of burnt flesh. According to a report filed by the National Board of Underwriters, a partially burned mattress found on the third floor gave rise to the conclusion that a careless and possibly intoxicated guest dropped a cigarette onto it, thus starting the fire.

Unconvinced, Mayor Hartsfield invited fire experts from across the country to conduct their own investigations and several arson theories quickly emerged. But the press and the public in general were more concerned about why an "absolutely fireproof" hotel lacked fire escapes, a sprinkler system and fire alarms and less concerned with theories of arson. They demanded culpability from the hotel's owners and operators and the victims families were eventually awarded a $3.5 million negligence lawsuit which they unfortunately would never receive.

Copyright 2003 Glass Mountain Entertainment