Friday, June 23, 2017

Mysterious Fire in Hartford!

In the summer of 1944, people near Hartford, Connecticut were excited to attend the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which was coming to town. Being distracted for a couple of hours by entertainers and animals was just what people thought they needed. Unfortunately, a massive fire broke out and tragedy struck. What happened as a result of the fire was a lesson for the Ringling Brothers and the local emergency department. Reading this narrative nonfiction book about a true event that happened not far from where I live really hit home. My heart broke thinking about all the people and animals trapped inside the tent. Fire isn't the only damage to worry about during an emergency, when people don't stay calm- more people get hurt. Have you ever heard of the Hartford Circus fire of 1944? 

I discovered Big Top Burning: The True Story of an Arsonist, a Missing Girl, and the Greatest Show on Earth on Rosi’s blog; The Write Stuff. I was lucky enough to win a copy of the book. The story intrigued me because I live a state away from Connecticut and had never heard of the fire (or any other circus fire for that matter). Reading about the mystery that surrounded not only how the fire started, but what happened to the people lost during the tragedy, peaked my interest. I was shocked to learn that the pieces of the puzzle were never put together, and the exact cause of the fire, along with a list of all the people who died, have yet to be determined. Each chapter was filled with careful research. The photos made the story even more real. Although the book includes information that's horrific, it's based on true events, and none of the details are gory; they're just sad. When we understand things that went wrong in history, and how common sense and safety precautions weren't in place, we can be thankful for lessons learned. This was my first book by Laura A. Woollett, but I plan to read more by this author!

Have you read Big Top Burning: The True Story of an Arsonist, a Missing Girl, and the Greatest Show on Earth? Or have you read another book by Laura A. Woollett? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Happy Reading!
~L

47 comments:

  1. I’ve not heard about this fire before and have not read anything by Laura A Woollett, but I would like to. Fire is in the forefront of everyone’s mind in England because of the recent awful tragedy at Grenfell Tower.

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    1. Barbara- It was new to me too. I highly recommend this book by Laura A. Woolett. It was a very interesting read. That tragedy at Grenfell Tower is heartbreaking. :( ~L

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  2. I've seen Ringling Bros. before but I didn't know they'd had a fire like that. Those kinds of stories fascinate me. I wonder how many animals were lost, too?

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    1. L. Diane Wolfe- I saw their circus when I was younger. I had no idea they had ever had a fire like the one in Hartford (or that any circuses had fires). Very sad! ~L

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  3. Sounds like s great story, must be terrifying to experience such a fire. Hugs, Valerie

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    1. Valerie- Definitely! It all happened very fast. Scary and sad. ~L

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  4. Yes, as Barbara said above, fire is still in the forefront of everyone’s mind in the UK because of the recent awful tragedy at Grenfell Tower.

    This book does sound an excellent story though.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Jan- The story sheds light on a tragedy that few people seem to know about. Fire is very scary and my heart goes out to all the people at Grendfell Towers and their families. ~L

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  5. Never heard of the fire either. Awful for everyone involved even more so when it has never been solved.

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    1. Pat- I think the fact that the case was never solved and so many questions were left unanswered had to be horrible for many people. ~L

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  6. Sounds like a good book but sad. i had no idea that Ringling Bros. had a fire.

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    1. Cindy- I was surprised too. Even more surprised to learn they were able to continue with their shows after something like this. ~L

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  7. It sounds most dreadfully sad. I wonder whether the lack of investigation was triggered because the circus moved on...

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    1. EC- It was very sad, but the book was well-written and informative.I believe part of the reason was that the circus paid the families money, but they didn't take responsibility. People were charged and later pardoned. There were many pieces of the investigation that were left up in the air. Sad. ~L

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  8. I haven't heard of this fire, but fire is tragic. Sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for telling us about it.

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    1. Beverly- I hadn't heard of it either- but it was an enlightening book. I learned a lot for sure! ~L

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  9. Fire are terrible !! The last summer we had a lot of fires in the forest here in Chile.

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    1. Gloria- Fires are very scary! ~L

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  10. I think I read something about this on someone's blog a while back. I do remember the mystery surrounding it. Sounds like a fascinating read!

    betty

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    1. Betty- I thought the book was interesting and well researched. The author did a great job! ~L

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  11. So glad you found this book so interesting. Thanks for the shout out!

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    1. Rosi- You are welcome for the shout out. The book was very interesting. Thanks for the giveaway. :)

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  12. Big Top Burning?!? Oh, noes, did someone feed the elephant with chili again?

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    1. Dezmond- Not quite... a discarded cigarette possibly? ~L

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  13. This sounds quite interesting and tragic. I can't imagine the terror and chaos of fire in a circus.

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    1. Lee- I can't imagine it either. The book was very informative and put the facts out there in a way that the reader learned without being exposed to gore. ~L

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  14. Lovely review sweetie :D I'm glad you liked this book. <3 Sounds a bit heartbreaking, to be honest. But so interesting too. Curious about this now :)

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    1. Carina- It was heartbreaking, but also interesting. I had no idea about the fire and I am glad I learned about it. :) ~L

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  15. Oh gosh, I didn't know about this. How heart-wrenching.

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    1. Sandra- I know! It broke my heart! ~L

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  16. That sounds like a very emotional read.

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    1. Mary- It was, but the facts aren't presented in a way that is gory or too much. It is done very well. ~L

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  17. How awful! Sounds like the author did well with it, though.

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    1. The armchair Squid- The author really presented everything in the best way she could. Readers know the facts, but they don't have the gore. It also reads like a mystery- what happened to some of the people who attended the circus and what caused it. ~L

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  18. I haven't read the piece, but I feel like I've heard about this. Weren't a good number of people trampled to death in the panic?

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    1. Robert- Yes. The whole thing wasn't handled well either as far as emergency people on hand etc. It reminded me of the Titanic and how after that tragedy other regulations came into play to make sure something like that did not happen again. This one tragedy did cause a lot of change in the way events (and circuses) are organized.

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  19. Interesting. I'd not heard of it either. Things like this are fascinating in a grim way.

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    1. Anna- It was an interesting read. I was surprised to learn about the fire and the fact that there were people who were never found and the fire remained a mystery in a lot of ways.

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  20. I haven't read this book, but I know about the fire. Such a horrible disaster.

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  21. My mind immediately went back to the fire in the Tower of London recently... I was pretty much in tears hearing all bout it. The idea of the fire and all those people stuck inside :'(

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    1. Olivia-Savannah- I know! So terrible to think of all the people who were trapped. My heart goes out to everyone who was involved in the fire in the Tower of London (and their families and friends). So sad!

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  22. I have never heard of this fire! So sad!

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    1. Magic Love Crow- I hadn't heard of it either! So sad!

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  23. Oh my, but this does sound interesting. Very tragic indeed. ~Aleen

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    1. Aleen- It is a well-written book and an interesting read. It is sad, but there is a lot to learn from the tragedy.

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