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Inside deadliest nightclub fire ever that killed 492 people in just 15 minutes

The night of November 28, 1942, promised all the glamour and glitz that made Boston’s most famous nightspot – but its reputation was about to go up in smoke.

Almost 80 years have passed since a quick and deadly fire ripped through the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in the second-deadliest single-building fire in US history.

The night started out like any other as around 1,000 revellers gathered to drink and dance the night away.

The venue was owned by Barnet "Barney" Welansky, who was closely connected to the mafia and to Mayor Maurice J. Tobin.

But within a matter of hours, the club became a fire trap.

According to Business Insider, the club was at twice its legal capacity and filled with flammable objects, like plastic palm trees and satin-lined ceilings.

Investigations found the air-conditioning also used flammable gas, creating a dangerous environment as people were locked inside.

Welansky’s club was frequented by gangsters who made sure the fire exits were nailed shut to prevent people from leaving without paying for their drinks, History.com reports.

Witnesses claimed the fire began when an underage, underpaid worker named Stanley Tomaszewski was asked to replace a bulb and lit a match to be able to see better to get the job done.

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It's not known whether that is true, however, one of the tree decorations burst into flames, and one of the satin canopies that hung from the ceiling caught on fire.

The blaze spread rapidly through the building, despite staff attempting to put it out, and chaos ensued.

People tried to escape and stampeded towards the doors – but they became clogged with bodies.

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By the time fire crews arrived, the doorways were stacked with corpses.

A total of 166 people were taken to hospital, 300 to 350 survived, and 492 people died.

Hospitals estimated they were treating a new victim of the fire every 11 seconds.

Welansky was convicted of 19 counts of manslaughter for his negligence.

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