Jacksonville, FL Hotel Roosevelt Fire, Dec 1963

Helicopter Rescue Trying To Escape Flames And Smoke Roosevelt Hotel Fire Jacksonville FL 12-29-1963.jpg

MISS AXUM, smiling prettily from a hospital bed, said all she took with her when she fled in pajamas, slippers and a heavier coat, were "two pocketbooks and my crown."

Business executives were among the dead. They included JAMES JACKSON SWICK, 59, owner-president of Copeland Sausage Co. His wife, LORENA EAKER (RENA) SWICK, 47, also was killed.

The SWICKS, of Alachua, Fla., had stayed in town after attending the Gator Bowl football game.

Another executive among the dead was WADE HILDINGER of Buffalo, N. Y., vice president for sales of National Gypsum Co.

Mayor Haydon Burns, commissioner of the police and fire departments, said city fire marshals inspected the hotel within the past 10 days and found it complied with all fire safety rules.

"There is no negligence involved in this fire in any way," the mayor said. "We know that the origin was in the ceiling of the ballroom, but the cause has not yet been determined."

William H. Johnson, who bought the Roosevelt in 1960 from the Meyer Hotel chain and spent $1 million renovating the 37-year-old structure, said "the hotel was as fireproof as you can get a building. It is a sad thing that those people didn't stay in their rooms."

"The smoke just build up and people panicked," Johnson said.

Continued

Comments

Other victims of the fire- from Atlanta

Two Atlanta couples were killed in the fire. Jay P. Cohen,29, and his wife, Leslie Tornow Cohen,23, and Jerald "Jerry" Kahn, 27 and his wife, Gail Orenstein Kahn, 26. The Kahns left behind three children under the age of 4 and the Cohens left behind an infant daughter.
http://israelite.galileo.usg.edu/israelite/view?docId=bookreader/asi/asi...

May their memories be a blessing.

Navy Rescue

My Father was the crew member on the Helo that rescued Miss American. He was awarded the Naval Metal of Honor for his efforts. Pretty cool web site. Brought back Memories. Thanks.

ROOSEVELT HOTEL JACKSONVILLE DEC. 29, 1963

I WAS DESK CLERK ON DUTY WHEN THIS FIRE BROKE OUT AND ALL OF A SUDDEN THE LOBBY JUST FILLED WITH SMOKE.

Hotel Roosevelt Fire

That mayor was an idiot. My parents stayed in their room and my father died of smoke inhalation. It did not matter where you were. Smoke was coming from all of the vents in the room!