The Winecoff Fire

Although it has been more than 60 years since the night of the Winecoff fire, the interest in this tragic event is still as strong as ever.

There is just something about that fire on Peachtree Street that continues to draw people from all walks of life. As a member of the Atlanta Fire Rescue department, I have been able to access a ton of information concerning the Winecoff fire.

Much of this information was found in an old box of historical documents, which had been tucked away in a storage room.

Previously forgotten for decades, the items in that box have revealed valuable information concerning the events of December 7, 1946.

More on this later.

The documents that were discovered consist of letters, reports and eyewitness accounts of firefighters and victims who were at the fire.

Much of this material is unedited and in the “raw” form such as this laboratory report conducted on December 13, 1946.

My goal is to provide you with as many of the facts concerning the Winecoff Hotel fire as I can. I’ve done all the legwork, now all you have to do is sit back and enjoy.

Note: I must warn you though, if you’re like me,once you start reading about the Winecoff Hotel fire it is hard to stop!

Be sure to get the book, The Winecoff Fire:The Untold Story of America's Deadliest Hotel Fire

Atlanta Fire Department Report

*During my research for an article that I wrote for Firehouse, I came across a virtual treasure chest of old documents pertaining to the Winecoff fire.

Most of these reports and letters had been tucked away and literally forgotten for nearly 60 years.

One of my favorites is this hand-written (Form 17-19) fire report on the Winecoff Hotel fire.
(Be sure to count how many pieces of equipment were used on the night of the fire).

Digging through the box, I discovered that quite a few of the old documents had become yellowed and very brittle. The fragile condition of the paper required me to be super careful when handling the documents.

I must say that even though the research was often times slow and tedious, the results were certainly well worth the effort.

The following are some of the discoveries that I would like to share with you:

Holocaust on Peachtree

One of the most amazing set of documents that I found was dated July 7, 1969. Many of the details in this account could only have been recorded by someone who was actually at the fire. Click here to read "Holocaust on Peachtree."

Letters From the Public

Countless letters were sent to the Atlanta Fire department suggesting ways that people could have been saved at the Winecoff Hotel fire. Check out these suggestions on how to save lives.

Winecoff Hotel Death Report

The official report from the Atlanta Health Department lists the age and sex of the victims of the Winecoff Hotel fire, as well as how they died.

Each of the 119 fatalities are listed in one of three categories. Here is a copy of the original cause of death report.

"An Awful Fire"

Chief Rick Roberts was a firefighter with the Atlanta Fire Department at the time of the Winecoff Hotel fire. Here is an article that I wrote for Firehouse magazine describing his ordeal.

Reserve a copy of The Winecoff Hotel Fire: The Untold Story of America's Deadliest Hotel Fire.

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