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This Day in Georgia History

December 07, 1946

Winecoff Hotel Fire

A fire at the supposedly “fireproof” Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta claimed 119 lives, including hotel founder W. Frank Winecoff and 28 high school students attending a conference, along with an additional 100 people injured. Most of the victims died of suffocation, though 26 fell or leaped to their death because fire trucks did not have ladders tall enough to reach the top floors. The cause of the fire was never officially established, though it is believed the fire started from a cigarette dropped on a mattress stored on the third floor. At the time this fire was the worst hotel fire in the nation’s history and inspired new fire codes across the country.