Rhythm Night Club Fire

The November 2010 issue of Firehouse Magazine drew our attention to the little known and rarely discussed fire of the Rhythm Night Club.

On April 23, 1940, in Natchez, Mississippi, 700 people crammed into the Rhythm Night Club to experience the live performance of Walter Barnes and his Royal Creolians.  The exact cause of this fire, that claimed 290 lives, was never determined.

Factors contributing to this tragedy include:
  • decorative spanish moss doused in petroleum based insecticide
  • boarded up windows and doors
  • single entrance/exit

Check out The Rhythm Club Fire documentary, produced by Bryan Burch.

The National Fire Protection Association offers several reports and safety tips concerning nightclub fires.