From the moment you hear the words, the “Tunnel Fire” sends a chill through your body. This disaster, which claimed the lives of 169 people back in 1986, happened two miles inside an abandoned tunnel in Tennessee.
To this day, its cause remains a mystery. In this article, we’re diving into the tunnel’s puzzling past. We’ll explore why it became known as the “Tunnel Fire” and the struggles that families experienced in its aftermath.
Let’s begin our journey through what has been remembered as one of the most devastating events in US history.
Why Is It Called the Tunnel Fire?On November 28th, 1942, a tragic event occurred in Baltimore, Maryland known as the “Tunnel Fire.
” A catastrophic fire destroyed a movie theater situated in the Howard Street tunnel, killing 12 people and leaving many others seriously injured or disabled. This event has since been deemed one of the deadliest disasters in the city’s history. The Tunnel Fire holds a significance in Baltimore City’s history that remains to this day, with many monuments created to remember the lives lost and to honor those whose lives were changed forever.
But why exactly is this devastating incident known as the Tunnel Fire?
The Cause of the FireOn the day of the Tunnel Fire, a group of minors, mostly boys between the ages of 9 and 14, entered the theater to watch a movie at the much-loved Lexington Street Theater. The theater, located in the tunnel under Howard Street, had recently changed its policy to allow unaccompanied minors.
Smoke From a Passing TrainAs the boys settled into their seats, a train on the tracks above the ceiling of the tunnel released sparks and heavy smoke into the theater. This smoke quickly engulfed the theater and created an extremely hot and smoky environment.
As the boys attempted to escape the smoke, they and many of the adults were unable to make their way to the exit door and instead were forced to climb up onto a balcony area. Despite an extensive rescue effort, the fire proved too strong, and the result was the tragic loss of 12 seats and many more that were injured and disabled.