|Paramount Hotel Fire
January 28, 1966
Shortly after 6 p.m. on the cold night of January 28, 1966, an odor of gas was detected at the Paramount Hotel, located at 17-19 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts. As employees started to make notifications to adjoining businesses and the gas company, an explosion blew out part of the first floor walls and the sidewalk collapsed into the basement. There was heavy fire and smoke. People were at windows on the upper floors calling for help. A few minutes later, police and fire companies began arriving. Within ten minutes of the explosion, a fifth alarm was ordered. Ladder trucks could not get close enough to the building, so ground ladders were used. Extra man power was needed with the ladders because water from the hoses was turning almost immediately to ice. One woman was rescued from the basement where she was pinned by debris. She was spotted from the street through the hole where the sidewalk was blown away. There was heavy fire in the basement and it was filling up with water. Only the woman's head was above water. She was not only in danger of burning, but also of drowning. The fire extended from the basement to the upper floors via the elevator shaft. Hose lines were taken off standpipes in the building next to the hotel and used from its upper floors to hit some of the fire in the hotel that could not be reached from the street. A total of 57 people were injured. By the next morning, the death toll stood at ten; an eleventh person died a few days later.