How A possesive Boyfriend Set 87 people on Fire

Happy Land was a social club in the West Farms district of the Bronx, New York City, United States, located at 1959 Southern Boulevard.

  • Quick Fact: The two deadliest fire incidents in New York city happened on the same month and day, March 25.

The incident occurred at the Happy Land Social Club, an unregulated club with no sprinklers, fire alarms, or fire exits. The fire was started by an arsonist following a fight with his girlfriend. The club had been ordered to close 16 months prior to incident due to fire risks and building code violations, but it continued to operate. On the day of the fire, the nightclub was packed with largely Honduran immigrants celebrating Carnival on the second level of a run-down building.

Before a bouncer evicted the arsonist, Julio Gonzalez , a Cuban refugee from the building, he had gotten into a fight with his on-again girlfriend about her quitting her job as a coat checker at the club. He walked three blocks to a petrol station, where an attendant filled a one-gallon container with $1 worth of gasoline.

He returned to the club around 3:30 a.m., poured gasoline down the stairwell, and set it on fire, shutting off the one open door and flooding the club with smoke. He returned home as the fire became larger.

Happy land social club scene

It was one of the most heinous mass murders ever committed in the United States. The smoke suffocated the majority of the people inside the building, leaving only six individuals alive, including Mr. Gonzalez’s girlfriend. She notified the cops about their fight, and when they arrived at his residence, he confessed. He told detectives, “I became enraged, the devil got to me, and I ignited the fire.”

It was the most disastrous fire in New York City since the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire in 1911, which occurred 79 years before the Happy Land fire. Which occurred the same month and day, March 25. Following the fire at Happy Land, the city intensified its investigations into unlicensed nightclubs.

Mr. Gonzalez was found guilty the next year and was sentenced to 87 years to life in prison. He died in 2016 at the age of 61 in a hospital in upstate New York, where he had been transferred from jail following an apparent heart attack, after serving 25 years.

Julio Gonzalez in the middle

The Deadliest Fire in New York History

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which occurred on March 25, 1911, in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan, New York City, was the city’s deadliest industrial disaster and one of the deadliest in US history.

146 garment workers died in the fire, including 123 females and 23 males. They died as a result of smoke inhalation,or jumping to their deaths. The majority of the victims were recent Italian or Jewish immigrant women and girls aged 14 to 23. The oldest person was 43 while the youngest was just 14 years old.

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire

Many of the workers were unable to escape the burning building because the doors to the stairwells and exits were locked– a standard practice at the time to prevent workers from taking illegal breaks and to decrease theft. sixty three of the workers died after they jumped from the high windows. A man was the first to jump, and another man was spotted kissing a young woman at the window before jumping to their death.

The fire prompted legislation demanding stricter factory safety standards and aided the growth of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU), which battled for better sweatshop working conditions.

Victims who jumped from the windows

A thrown cigarette in a rubbish bin packed of extremely flammable cloth is thought to have started the fire.


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