The Evening Star (December 31, 1942)
Charges kept secret, but grand jury hits officials’ ‘laxity’
Boston, Massachusetts (AP) –
A grand jury today returned 11 secret indictments in connection with the Cocoanut Grove Night Club fire Nov. 28, in which 489 panic-stricken persons lost their lives in a horror of flame, smoke and gas.
Simultaneously, the 20-man Suffolk County grand jury issued a series of findings and recommendations, declaring there had been:
…laxity, incompetence, failure to fulfill prescribed duties effectively and also lack of complete knowledge of duties" among members of various departments charged with the protection of public safety.
In a lashing statement, the jury said it intended to record its conclusions:
…even though such evidence may fall short of establishing the willfulness or corruption required to make neglect of duty a criminal offense.
The jury said:
We have found shifting of responsibility and a tendency by various officials in different important departments who relied too much on their subordinates without exercising a sufficient and proper check on such subordinates.
We have found no complete coordination between the buildings department, fire department, police department, and licensing board, with respect to various types of inspection intended to be made to insure public safety in addition to protecting the public health, morals, et cetera.