ABC13 VAULT: Remembering the deadly Westchase Hilton hotel fire of 1982

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In the early morning hours of March 6, 1982, a slow burning fire filled rooms with thick black smoke, killing 12 people and injuring three others at the Westchase Hilton hotel in southwest Houston.

The first call came in at 2:28 a.m. and within minutes firefighters were on the scene rescuing people.

The fire was contained to one room on the fourth floor but heavy smoke filled adjoining rooms and hallways.

The scene outside the hotel was chaotic. Everyone who could help did. ABC13 photographers showed video of one man in a night robe holding an IV bag for a firefighter.

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Raw video of the deadly fire at the Westchase Hilton fire in 1982. Warning: graphic video.

As the fire department walked guests down a firetruck ladder, others performed CPR on those who had already been pulled from the fire.

The fire was started by a cigarette that ignited an upholstered chair in room 404.

All of those killed were found in rooms 407 and 411.

An investigation determined that the hotel desk clerk repeatedly turned off the fire alarm during the early stages of the fire, resulting in the reported lack of an evacuation.
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