Deadliest Nursing Home Fire

The deadliest nursing home fire recorded in U.S. history occurred on February 17, 1957 at the Katie Jane Memorial Home for the Aged in Warrenton, MO.  The fire broke out at 2:40 PM in a linen closet.  72 of the 155 residents died in the fire.  It was determined that a number of factors served as potential causes, including wood in the building that was more than 50 years old and thermostats often kept at 85-90 degrees to keep residents comfortable during the winter months.  The Home had been inspected a week prior to the fire.

It was later found that the Home had been operating without a license, did not have functional fire escapes and had no sprinkler system. There was also  no alarm system.   The month following the fire, the MO governor signed a bill that established a minimum of safety standards for nursing homes.

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