Happy Land

In: Science

Submitted By ray1455
Words 915
Pages 4
FSE 101: FIRE PREVENTION

RESEARCH PROJECT

THE HAPPY LAND FIRE

BY RAY CHESNEY

EASTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY

Introduction:

The Happy Land Fire was an arson fire that killed 87 people on March 25, 1990 in the Happy Land Social Club, The Bronx, New York. Most of the victims were young ethnic Hondurans.

Event History:

87 people died of smoke inhalation at the “Happy Land Social Club”. The fire was

started by a 36-year-old man who earlier had been ejected from the club after an

altercation with his former girlfriend, who worked at the club. He went to a nearby

gas station, filled a plastic container with a dollar’s worth of gasoline, and

returned to the club. He threw the gasoline into the only entrance of the club and

then lit matches to ignite the fire. Smoke quickly filled the first floor of the club,

where 18 people were found dead. Smoke billowed up the narrow staircases to

the second floor where there were 69 fatalities. All of the decedents died in the

building, and none were resuscitated. Five people escaped and survived.

Aftermath:

Julio González was found guilty on 87 counts of arson and 87 counts of murder on August 19, 1991. He received the sentence maximum of 25 years to life for each count. The most substantial prison term ever imposed in New York state.
He will be eligible for parole in March 2015. The owners of the building that housed Happy Land club were found not criminally responsible, since they had tried to close the club and evict the tenant Elias Colon, who died in the fire. The street outside the former Happy Land social club has been renamed "The Plaza of the Eighty-Seven" as a way of memorializing the victims

Impact on Codes/Processes:
The Happy Land Social Club fire raised many issues relative to the legality of the club's presence, fire safety inspections…...

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