July 6, 1944

Hartford, Conn. – The Ringling Bros. circus tent catches fire during a performance, sending an audience estimated at 6,000 scrambling to escape. It was the worst circus fire in U.S. history, with a final death toll of 168 people.

Charles Nelson Reilly recalls the Hartford circus fire.

Here is a 1991 story by Nita Lelyveld
(then with the Associated Press, now with The Times) about the identification of “Little Miss 1565.”

Here is the Hartford Courant’s 2014 retrospective.

There is a discussion of the fire today at the Mark Twain House in Hartford, featuring authors Stewart O’Nan and Mike Skidgell, who have written about the tragedy, but it is sold out.

From the Norwalk Hour.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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2 Responses to 152 DIE IN CIRCUS TENT DISASTER! July 6, 1944

  1. Anne Papineau says:

    I believe the actor/director Charles Nelson Reilly was in attendance that day and it affected him for the rest of his life whenever he heard crowd sounds …


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