Remembering the Hartford circus fire 70 years later

The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford will host a panel discussion to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Hartford circus fire at the Society’s annual meeting, on Tuesday, June 24, 7 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Mandell JCC in West Hartford.

330566One hundred and sixty-eight people were killed and close to 500 were injured – many of them children – on July 6, 1944, when the tent of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus caught fire in Hartford. The expert panel that will discuss different aspects of the fire will include Chief Charles Teale, the former chief of the Hartford Fire Department and a member of the Advisory Board of the Hartford History Center; Brenda Miller, executive director of the Hartford History Center at the Hartford Public Library; Judge Henry Cohn, author of The Great Circus Fire: Creative Settlement of Mass Disasters; Michael R. Skidgell, author of the newly published book, The Hartford Circus Fire: Tragedy Under the Big Top; and Laura Woollett, author of the forthcoming book, Big Top Burning! The Story of an Arsonist, a Missing Girl, and the Greatest Show on Earth. There will also be an opportunity for members of the audience to share their own memories of the event.


The Mandell JCC is located at 335 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford. Admission is free and open to the public. For further information visit or call (860) 727-6170.

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