Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Winecoff Fire 70th Anniversary Commemoration

Against all odds, Dr. Robert Cox, 73, and Richard Hamil, 79,
 survived the Winecoff Hotel fire 70 years ago

Many whose lives were touched by the Winecoff fire gathered to commemorate the fire's 70th anniversary Tuesday at Heritage Sandy Springs in north Atlanta. Among the guests were two survivors of the fire and a host of people with family connections to the 1946 fire.

Dr. Robert Cox was three years old. His father, forced by heavy smoke and encroaching flames, took little Robert into his arms and leapt toward a fire net ten floors below. The net was manned by a mixture of firefighters and civilian volunteers. They all told the same story:

As they were falling, Robert's father realized they would not land in the center of the net. So he pushed his son away from himself and toward the middle of the net. An instant later the toddler landed safely but his father struck his head fatally on the net's metal rim. His final act in life saved his son.

Richard Hamil was on the alley side of the hotel on the fifteenth floor with his own father. They barely survived two terrifying hours of smoke and heat in the room. They were rescued by ladder across a ten foot alleyway into another building.

Other audience members also shared their stories about how their lives and families were effected by the fire. 

Sam Heys and Allen B. Goodwin discussed their book, The Winecoff Fire: The Untold Story of America's Deadliest Hotel Fire and Chet Wallace spoke about his own book to be released next year titled The Winecoff Fire Victims: A Dedication to the 119.

Sandra Parish covered Tuesday's gathering for Atlanta's WSB radio here.
Doug Walker has written about Richard Hamil for today's Rome News-Tribune here.
Rescued alongside the Hamils was Jane Wallace.
Robert Cox's parents are remembered here.

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