Winecoff Hotel Fire

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The night of December 7, 1946 disaster struck Atlanta’s fifteen story luxury hotel, the Winecoff Hotel. The Winecoff Hotel, built by the architect William Lee Stoddard in 1913, was a hotel once located in Atlanta’s retail district of the city. That winter night in the year 1946, the renowned hotel, known for its advertisement of being “fireproof”, surprisingly caught fire and tragedy took place. The occupancy of the hotel that night was at its max with around 280 guests residing there. Such guests included WWII veterans, prominent highschool students of Georgia attending an event, and various shoppers and travelers. The fire made its first appearance around three o’ clock in the morning by an elevator operator. They sounded the alarm to the hotel lobby that smoke was rising up near the fifth floor, and soon enough, chaos fell upon the “fireproof” hotel. At the time, the third and fourth floors were swallowed up with flames. Unfortunately, at three in the morning many of Winecoff’s guests were asleep and their chances of survival were slim to none. Due to the perfect square design of the building, and having the elevator shafts right in the middle, when the lower floors caught fire smoke rose up through the stairwells trapping the majority of the upper floors. This lead to panicked people making sheet ropes trying to escape out of the windows, or simply, for some, waiting until death met them. Another flaw with the building was that even though it was deemed for being “fireproof”, the hotel did not have fire alarms, fire escape routes, or a sprinkler system developed within the building. By the time the firefighters had arrived to the scene of the fire, people had already fallen to their deaths. People of all walks of life, including young babies and the elderly. Some of the elderly being the Winecoff family, the people who built the

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