Thursday, July 26, 2007

I'd forgotten about that horrible day

I was just reminded of something from way back in my memories. In my senior year of high school, my physics teacher organized a class trip to Six Flags Great Adventure. He was the worst science teacher I'd ever encountered, but this at least seemed like a good idea.

So we took a bus to southern New Jersey and spent the day riding roller coasters, etc. The date was May 11, 1984.

As we reached the end of the day, smoke started to blow across the park. By the time this started, some of us were heading back to the bus. The smoke was thick, and we ran to the bus and started to shut the handful of windows that had been opened earlier.

We didn't know what was burning right away, but we soon learned. Some of my classmates returned to the bus a bit later and told us they had been waiting in line for the haunted house when smoke started pouring out of it. It took a while for everyone to get back to the bus. A few of our lot were on a rollercoaster when the smoke started to spread, and some rocket scientist decided that stopping the cars in mid-ride would be a good idea. So they were briefly stuck in the middle of the ride as the smoke filled the air. They didn't inhale enough to need medical attention, but they certainly weren't pleased.

I was worried that the news of the fire would get to my parents before I did (since we had a roughly two-hour drive before we got back home), but that didn't happen. Later that night, the word started to spread. By the next morning, the horror of what had happened was in all the papers: 8 PEOPLE KILLED, 7 HURT IN BLAZE AT THEME PARK

I don't know if that link from the Times archive will work once I post this, but the headline really says it all. Eight people were dead.

So what reminded me of this? Well, our local news radio station, WCBS 880, is celebrating "40 Years of News Radio" by revisiting big stories from the past 40 years. I hadn't thought of that day in ages, and then they started talking about it and it all came rushing back. It's funny how we bury some memories deeper than others, only to have them come flooding back when we're reminded.


Dantallion said...

I can understand your brain wanting to put that particular memory aside. That's pretty horrific.

Joey said...

I remember that fire, it caused my high school to cancel a planned trip to Great Adventure a couple of weeks later as the park was considered a safety hazard.