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Gathering marks 40 years since NY hotel fire that killed 10

November 25, 2018

GREECE, N.Y. (AP) — Holding handwritten signs bearing the victims’ names, dozens of people have gathered in a western New York parking lot Saturday to remember and honor 10 people killed in a hotel fire 40 years ago Monday.

Bells tolled and balloons were unleashed as people read the names of the dead at the spot where a Holiday Inn once stood in Greece, New York, video by the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester showed. Greece is near Rochester.

“We don’t want to ever forget these 10 people,” one of the memorial organizers, Laurie Kingsley-Henry, told the newspaper. A retired Rochester police officer, she was a 14-year-old explorer with the North Greece Fire Department at the time of the fire.

“With this, there’s so many unanswered questions,” she said. “We just want to find those answers, not only for those families but for everybody.”

The early morning inferno on Nov. 26, 1978, engulfed a hotel packed with over 200 guests, many of them Canadians visiting for holiday shopping.

The blaze left a trail of unanswered questions.

There have been years of investigation and suspicions of arson. But the Democrat and Chronicle reported earlier this week that police and prosecutors are split on whether there’s enough evidence to bring a case.

“We’d like to bring some form of closure to these families,” Police Chief Patrick Phelan told the newspaper Saturday. His father, Gerald Phelan, was police chief at the time of the fire.

“The most important message is that there’s people out there with information that we don’t yet have,” Patrick Phelan said. “And we would really plead with people to share that information.”

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Information from: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, http://www.democratandchronicle.com

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