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Episode 3.28 Terror in the Big Top: The Hartford Circus Fire



On July 6, 1944, in Hartford, Connecticut, thousands of patrons were excited to escape the heat and attend the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus performance. While the Flying Wallendas began their performance inside the tent, chaos ensued shortly after. The fire that began as a small flame about 20 feet from the main exit spread rapidly when it came in contact with the tent canvas. Panicked patrons ran for the exits as the flames grew to 100 feet high, only for many to be blocked by animal cages and bottlenecks. In today's episode, we explore one of the worst fire disasters in United States history that injured more than 700 people and killed nearly 170.

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