ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
69°
Mostly Cloudy
H 79° L 66°
  • cloudy-day
    69°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Cloudy. H 79° L 66°
  • cloudy-day
    79°
    Today
    Mostly Cloudy. H 79° L 66°
  • cloudy-day
    71°
    Tomorrow
    Mostly Cloudy. H 71° L 49°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

News
Survivors remember 70th anniversary of Winecoff fire
Close

Survivors remember 70th anniversary of Winecoff fire

Survivors remember 70th anniversary of Winecoff fire
Photo Credit: Sandra Parrish
Survivors Bob Cox (left) and Richard Hamil (Right)

Survivors remember 70th anniversary of Winecoff fire

Seventy years ago today, 119 people lost their lives in the deadliest hotel fire in the country.  Many of the 280 guests at the Winecoff Hotel had come to Atlanta to go Christmas shopping, a group of youth were in town to attend the Tri-Hi Y Youth Assembly, and others were going to see the premiere of the movie “Song of the South” which was playing across the street.

Richard Hamil was 9-years-old and was with his father who was chaperoning eight boys from Rome attending the youth assembly.

“We were awakened about 3:30 or 4am... whatever time the fire started.  And we were able to get out of our room and thought we were going to be able to get out,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.

But he says they were not able to get off the 15th floor.  Instead they ended up in a woman’s room.

“She was about to jump and Daddy talked her out of that and said we’re not going to do that.  If the fire gets to us we will,” recalls Hamil.

Instead, a ladder was placed to their window from the building across the alley and all three were able to crawl across to safety.

But Hamil says four of the boys his father was there to accompany didn’t make it out which scarred his dad the rest of his life.

Hamil was among two survivors and a group of family members, whose loved ones either survived or died in the fire, who gathered in Sandy Springs Tuesday night to remember the 70th anniversary.

 Bob Cox survived as well. He was just 11-months-old when he and his parents attempted to make it out the window on the 10th floor.

Because the fire ladder only made it to the 8th floor, his father tied bed sheets together and hung it out their window to reach it. A babysitter made it out successfully first.

“My mother started down and lost her grip and fell and hit the sidewalk.  My father started down and the ladder was moved.  So we fell and landed on one of the nets that people hold.  He hit his head on the rim and I rolled into the middle,” says Cox.

He lost both his parents and ended up being raised on a farm by another family.

 Janet Cox’s mother Dorothy was 16 at the time and also there to attend the youth assembly.  She jumped from the 7th floor onto the Candler Building below, suffering two broken legs, a broken arm, a broken jaw and lost all her teeth.  After spending six months in the hospital, she was able to go back home to Columbus.

Cox says it left a lasting impression on her mother.

“My mother always impressed on me not to stay on the high floors because she didn’t want to do that.  But she always taught me to look behind the doors and see what the escape is,” she says.

The anniversary comes on a day when the country is mourning mass casualties in yet another catastrophic fire, this time in Oakland.

“I just think it’s very relevant and I think it’s the perfect timing to pay attention to it again,” she says.

Even though the hotel advertised itself as “fireproof” at the time, the Winecoff lacked fire escapes, sprinkler systems, and has an open stairway that allowed the fire to spread up the floors quickly.

Allen Goodwin, who co-authored a book on the Winecoff Hotel fire, says it’s the catalyst for today’s fire safety measures.

“It improved fire codes worldwide.  It attracted so much attention and so much call for improved fire codes like sprinkler systems and modern technology that we enjoy,” he says.

The group planned to have lunch today at the now-renovated hotel which was renamed The Ellis on Peachtree. 

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

News

  • After Matt Ryan and Jameis Winston traded touchdown pass after touchdown pass, it came down to a few wacky flips near the goal line. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers nearly pulled off a miracle. But, in the end, the Atlanta Falcons finally got a much-needed victory to bounce their way. Ryan threw for 354 yards and three touchdowns as the Falcons snapped a three-game losing streak, holding off Tampa Bay 34-29 Sunday in Winston's return as the Bucs' starter. The Falcons (2-4) scored on their first three possessions and held off a wild comeback by Tampa Bay (2-3), avoiding their first 1-5 start since 2007. The Bucs lost their third in a row. 'It was all hands on deck,' Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said. Especially on the final play . Winston and the Bucs drove to the Atlanta 21 but were out of timeouts. With the Falcons dropping nearly everyone toward the end zone, expecting a pass, Winston took the snap and darted straight up the middle of the field. When he was about to be tackled at the 10, he pitched the ball toward receiver Adam Humphries, who was so intent on going for the winning score he couldn't hang on. The ball skipped to Mike Evans, who blindly flung it in the direction of DeSean Jackson along the sideline at the 5. Jackson might've had a chance to dive for the end zone, but he couldn't come up with another bouncing ball. It rolled harmlessly out of bounds to end the game. Jackson ripped off his helmet and kicked the pylon in disgust on his way to the locker room. 'The play is a play you run once,' tight end O.J. Howard said. 'It was a great call. We almost got it.' Winston, who was suspended for the first three games of the season and came off the bench in Week 4, threw for 395 yards and four TDs. His performance, though, was marred by a pair of interceptions, one a deep ball that was picked off at the Atlanta 1 and a deflected pass in the end zone that ricocheted high in the air and was grabbed by Brian Poole to deny a red-zone scoring chance. Ryan's three TD passes gave him 274 in his career, passing Joe Montana for 16th on the career list. 'Obviously it's very special any time your name is brought up with Joe's,' Ryan said. 'But I'm more excited about the win.' He also had a big scramble on third-and-9, powering for a 13-yard gain that set up his final scoring pass. Quinn made a gutsy call with just over a minute remaining, sending on Matt Bryant to attempt a 57-yard field goal with Atlanta clinging to a 31-29 lead. Bryant's kick just cleared the crossbar, extending the Falcons' lead. The 43-yard-old Bryant put everything into the kick and immediately grabbed his right hamstring before hobbling off the field. Quinn's decision forced the Bucs to go for a touchdown. 'I can't say enough about Matt Bryant and the kick he had,' Quinn gushed. 'He's definitely one of the most mentally tough players I've had a chance to coach.' JULIO'S DAY Julio Jones went another game without a touchdown catch. The Falcons didn't mind a bit. Jones had 10 receptions for 143 yards — his third 100-yard game of the season — and constantly drew attention away from his teammates. That allowed Austin Hooper, Mohamed Sanu and Tevin Coleman to haul in scoring passes. Jones has gone 11 straight regular-season games without a TD since a Nov. 26, 2017, victory over Tampa Bay, when he had two scoring catches. BUC-KLING DOWN The beleaguered Tampa Bay defense, which is guided by former Falcons coach Mike Smith, was shredded in the first half for three touchdowns, a last-second field goal and 275 yards. It showed a bit of improvement after the break, actually forcing Atlanta to punt on three straight possessions. But, with the game on the line, the Bucs surrendered a 75-yard drive capped by Ryan's 6-yard TD pass to Coleman and a 36-yard possession that set up Bryant's long field goal. Tampa Bay came into the game allowing 34.75 points per game, more than any team in the league. INJURY REPORT Atlanta's receiving corps took a beating. Calvin Ridley, who was leading the Falcons with six touchdown catches, went out in the first half with an ankle injury and didn't return. Sanu was sidelined in the second half with a hip problem after hauling in a 35-yard touchdown pass. The loss of two receivers forced the Falcons to give more playing time to Justin Hardy, Marvin Hall and Russell Gage. Hardy had three catches and Gage came up with a big catch on Atlanta's touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. The Bucs lost defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who walked slowly off the field in the fourth quarter with an undisclosed injury. Also, cornerback Ryan Smith was evaluated for a possible concussion. UP NEXT Buccaneers: Return home next Sunday to host the Cleveland Browns (2-3-1). Falcons: Host the struggling New York Giants (1-5) on Monday, Oct. 22, to close out a stretch of five home games in the first seven weeks of the season. ___ Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry ___ For more AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NFLfootball and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
  • A small plane crashed while taking off at the Gwinnett County Airport on Sunday afternoon, officials said. The two occupants of the plane were able to exit safely before the plane caught fire at about 12:40 p.m., according to a statement from the Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services. The occupants, an instructor and a student, were not seriously injured, the fire department said. One was evaluated and released by paramedics at the scene, and the other said they were not injured. READ MORE: 1 reported dead in plane crash in Paulding County The Cessna 172 “experienced a nose dive and hard landing” while taking off from Runway 7 at Briscoe Field, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. The plane went up in flames, but crews put out the fire shortly after 1 p.m., officials said. The aircraft was deemed a total loss. The crash occurred just a day after another small plane crashed in Paulding County, killing the pilot. In other news:
  • The Latest on Sen. Elizabeth Warren and President Donald Trump (all times local): 8:30 a.m. President Donald Trump says Sen. Elizabeth Warren 'is getting slammed' for releasing DNA test results showing she has some Native American ancestry. He says she should apologize. Trump says Tuesday on Twitter that 'she took a bogus DNA test and it showed that she may be 1/1024, far less than the average American.' He calls it 'phony' and says even the Cherokee Nation denies Warren. The Massachusetts Democrat and possible 2020 presidential candidate on Monday released DNA test results that genealogists say show she could be anywhere from 1/64th to 1/1024th Native American. The Cherokee Nation has questioned Warren's use of a DNA test, saying such exams are useless in determining tribal citizenship. Trump has long ridiculed Warren's claim of Native American heritage by calling her 'Pocahontas.' __ 12:40 a.m. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has suggested President Donald Trump's comment about him personally administering a DNA test to her to prove her Native American heritage is 'creepy.' She tweeted Monday that the president makes 'creepy physical threats' about women who scare him, including her. Warren is seen as a potential 2020 challenger to Trump. On Monday, Warren released DNA test results that provide some evidence of a Native American in her lineage, though the ancestor probably lived six to 10 generations ago, according to the analysis. Trump has ridiculed her as 'Pocahontas' over the ancestry claim. In July, the president offered to donate $1 million to her favorite charity if a DNA test proved her Native American bloodline. On Monday, he first denied ever making such a promise, then said later that 'I'll only do it if I can test her personally.
  • A Tennessee mother and four children were found dead Monday in what investigators believe was a murder-suicide. >> Watch the news conference here According to the Columbia Daily Herald, a family member arrived at the Maury County home after 6 p.m. Monday and discovered the bodies, authorities said.  The mother, whose name has not been released, appeared to have died from 'a self-inflicted gunshot wound,' the Daily Herald reported. The children – three girls and a boy – ranged from 8 to 16 years old and were home-schooled, authorities told WSMV. >> Read more news stories  Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland said investigators do not believe there are any additional suspects, and the children's father was not at home during the incident, WZTV reported. 'We don't believe we have a suspect at large at this time, but we are going to be thorough with this investigation,' Rowland said, according to the Daily Herald. He added: 'As emergency responders, we see gruesome scenes regularly, but this is not one that you see every day.' Read more here.
  • A Melania Trump spokeswoman is asking people to boycott Atlanta rapper T.I. because of his promotional album video that shows a woman resembling the first lady taking off her clothes in the oval office. Trump's communications director, Stephanie Grisham, tweeted Saturday asking how the video was acceptable. How is this acceptable? #disgusting #boycottT.I. @Tip https://t.co/HvnFahfsVK — Stephanie Grisham (@StephGrisham45) October 13, 2018 T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris, tweeted Friday 'Dear 45, I ain't Kanye' before sharing the video. The woman is wearing a jacket that reads 'I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?'  Trump wore a jacket with that wording on her way to visit migrant children in Texas.  She said recently in an interview with ABC News that she wore the jacket to troll reporters. Those tweets follow T.I. posting on Instagram that he was done working with rapper Kanye West, who is a President Donald Trump supporter. TRENDING STORIES: Drivers say cars had to be towed from gas station after pumping bad fuel Police hope new video will help solve model's mysterious murder 13-year-old girl missing after parents found dead in Wisconsin  
  • One person in Mississippi is in custody after the Bolivar County sheriff said that a baby was stabbed, WTVA reported. The baby was then placed in an oven at the home and baked, the sheriff told WTVA. >> Read more trending news  The person, whose name and relationship to the baby has not been released, is in the Bolivar County Regional Correctional Facility, according to Sheriff Kelvin Williams. Williams said deputies found the baby, whose age has not been determined, after being called to the home Monday evening, WTVA reported. They are unsure though when the baby died. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the crime lab are investigating.