The Hartford Circus Fire: Tragedy Under the Big Top

The Hartford Circus Fire: Tragedy Under the Big Top

by Michael Skidgell


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Almost 7,000 fans eagerly packed into the Ringling Brothers big top on July 6, 1944. With a single careless act, an afternoon at the "Greatest Show on Earth" quickly became one of terror and tragedy as the paraffin-coated circus tent caught fire. Panicked crowds rushed for the few exits, but in minutes, the tent collapsed on those still struggling to escape below. A total of 168 lives were lost, many of them children, with many more injured and forever scarred by the events. Hartford and the surrounding communities reeled in the aftermath as investigators searched for the source of the fire and the responsible parties. Through firsthand accounts, interviews with survivors and a gripping collection of vintage photographs, author Michael Skidgell attempts to make sense of one of Hartford's worst tragedies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626190696
Publisher: The History Press
Publication date: 04/08/2014
Series: Disaster
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 1,154,936
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Michael Skidgell, a lifelong Connecticut resident, is a project manager and an engineering manager at Steeltech Building Products. He has served in the construction company as a draftsman, engineer, estimator, coordinator and project manager for thirty years. Skidgell started his research on the Hartford circus fire in 2001, and has been pursuing the subject ever since.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 7

1 A Ticket to Tragedy 9

2 The Greatest Show on Earth 29

3 Someone Yelled, "Fire!" 43

4 Those Who Died 67

5 The Aftermath 113

Selected Bibliography 133

Index 135

About the Author 141

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The Hartford Circus Fire: Tragedy Under the Big Top 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
MistyWilliams More than 1 year ago
I picked Good because I wouldn't say this book is Below Average, but I was disappointed with it. It is a thin book and about the first 1/3 describes the fire. This is done in an interesting and compelling way, with photos and some line drawings. The rest of the book lists, with small descriptive paragraphs, many of the people that died. I'm very sorry these people died in this tragedy, however I don't find that it was of benefit to take up so much of the book with small narratives about people I never knew. Stewart O'Nan's book is much better, in my opinion.