The Beverly Hills Fire
Fire Photo As the nation prepares for Memorial Day, the Cincinnati area pauses in remembrance of a conflagration whose embers still smolder.

The fire at the Beverly Hills Supper Club was a night of horror and heroism, of unspeakable carnage and unshakeable courage. Whether or not you witnessed the blaze, which eventually killed 165 people, your life was affected by it.

The revolution in class action litigation, the exposure of the dangers of certain kinds of construction materials and the revision of building and fire codes have reached every community in America.

20 years later, a grim legacy For those who were touched by the horror, memories of the fire at the Northern Kentucky club on May 28, 1977, torments like an unfinished novel. It may be the absence of criminal charges against those responsible for the causes of the fire. It may be lack of a permanent memorial to the victims. And it may be the painful realization that the passage of years, population growth in the Tristate and fresher, bigger national tragedies will inevitably blur the memory of that red-eyed, red-skied night.

Twenty years after that mournful evening The Enquirer revisits the fire at Beverly Hills. This recollection and recitation of the heroic actions of those who tried to save the victims, and who did save most of the patrons, is an obligation of the anniversary. Lives were lost, but the virtue of those who struggled to help others endure must be recalled and honored.

-The Editors

Riches to Ruins
. Pleasure Palace Was Creme De La Creme: No. 1 nightspot still glistened with glamour after shedding gambling
. Only Memories Left On Bare Hillside: Cost of long driveway, second access barrier to development

A Desperate Rescue
. Where Horror and Heroism Prevailed: Two souls linked forever by a blaze still burning

Tragedy Rooted in Code Violations
. Graphic: How it Happened,
(PDF, 4.7M), (JPG, 1.3M)

. A Chronology: From 1937 to 1986

A Mounting Grief
. Armory Gym Served as Morgue: 'It was eerie...I can still view that in my mind.'
. Beverly Was Their Coming of Age: Young volunteers faced finest hour, worst tragedy

Bearing Testimony
. Lives That Were Touched: Walter Baily, John Davidson, Eileen Druckman, H. James Amend, Wayne Dammert, Marguerette Day Spinks, Fay Stilz, and Ron Bridewell

A Lingering Anguish
. Survivors Feel Blessed: Lights went out, toxic smoke rolled in
. Memories Haunt Despite Decades: Coping with effects can be lifelong challenge

A Revolution in Law
. Litigation Bulldozed Traditional Legal Routes: Whole industries exposed to suit, mass injury cases pioneered
. The Master of Disaster 'The difference between Stanley and a pitbull is that a pitbull lets go'

In Memoriam
. These are the names of the 165 people who lost their lives because of the fire at the Beverly Hills Supper Club on the night of May 28, 1977.

The Cincinnati Enquirer and The Kentucky Enquirer

Special Section Staff

Please read our special 30-year edition here.