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Montgomery, AL Restaurant Fire, Feb 1967

Teamster Aide, Pepper Included

MONTGOMERY (AP) -A fire which began as tiny flickers in a cloakroom raced through a fashionable rooftop dining room in downtown Montgomery Tuesday night, leaving at least 26 persons dead, including a former state official who was indicted Tuesday.

Pepper, Wife Listed
A spokesman at one funeral home said positive identification had been made of the bodies of former Public Service Commissioner ED PEPPER and his wife ANN. The PEPPERS were dining with friends at the plush cafe when the fire started about 11 p. m.

PEPPER was indicted on two counts of extortion Tuesday by a federal grand jury at Birmingham. The indictments charged he "obstructed and delayed the transportation of goods and commodities in interstate commerce" while a PSC member. A third indictment was brought against PEPPER last November by the grand jury.

Another victim was identified as SIDNEY ZAGRI of Washington, D. C., chief lobbyist for James R. Hoffa's Teamsters Union.

Editor's Wife Killed.
Another body was identified today as that of MRS. JACK DOANE, wife of the sports editor of the Montgomery Advertiser. MRS. DOANE was a hostess at the fashionable restaurant.

Identification was difficult because of the condition of the bodies, which were taken to four funeral homes. A police identification team assisted by FBI experts was set up to help establish the identification.

Hours after the fire has been brought under control, Fire Chief W. T. Mallory said the cause was still undetermined. "We're trying to arrive at that by process of elimination," Mallory added.

Water Freezes
Water pouring from the blackened ruins of Dale's Penthouse restaurant atop the 11-story Walter Bragg Smith apartment hotel froze on the sidewalks and streets in the wintry 28 degree night, making it treacherous for firemen and police to move about. A city maintenance truck spread sand over the icy coating.

PEPPER, a onetime cabinet member during former Gov. James E. Folsom's second administration was elected to the Public Service Commission in 1962.

He gave up his place on the utility regulating body to run for Congress last spring, but was defeated in the Democratic Primary by former State Sen. Bill Nichols, who subsequently was elected last November.

Cloakroom Is Scene
In private life, he was an automobile dealer at Ashland, Ala.

Gov. Lurleen Wallace expressed sympathy for the families of the victims "of this terrible tragedy." She and her husband, former Gov. George C. Wallace, stayed up past midnight at the executive mansion half a dozen blocks away, getting telephoned reports from an aide.

JOHN ENGLISH, assistant manager of the restaurant and one of its owners, said the fire began in a cloakroom off the cocktail lounge adjoining the main dining room.

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Dale's Penthouse fire.....Alabama 1967

As one of the siblings from a victim of this I Would like to try and find other family members of the victims of this tragedy.

Dale's fire - my uncle's wife was a victim of the fire

My uncle's wife died in that fire. She worked there as a hostess.

Dale's Penthouse Fire

I see you lost a family member in the Dale's Penthouse fire in 1967.

My uncle died.

If you are still interested, I would be happy to share what I have learned.

Regards and Happy Holidays

Update on the Dale's Penthouse Fire

I've been studying this horrible incident for quite some time. I've decided to do some research on the matter but keep coming up empty handed. There's a few questions I have if anyone can answer them please e-mail me or reply. They say in the news article that they don't know what caused the fire. So it's my understanding the case was never solved. Some things just don't make sense concerning the fire. How many unidentified bodies were found? Is there any pictures of the fire online? I've contacted a film maker about shooting a movie about the fire because I think it needs more recognition. Thanks.

Information on Dales Penthouse Fire

Thanks so much for your interest in this disaster.
The best I can find is that there were 25 fatalities and all were identified.
The fire (officially) started from a discarded cigarette in a cloakroom on the Penhouse, next to the Stairs, hence escape routes were shut off.
There is an excellent video/news story on this disaster ... go to search for Dales Penthouse Fire ... it is a video about 3 1/2 minutes long showing much of the destruction and interviews with survivors ..
Let me know if you find this video.


Greetings Stu,

Yes, I went to youtube and found it in a couple of seconds. Thank you for the information.

So interesting, but so tragic.

C. Elizabeth Lalla
Celebrity Writer
Author of the Anthology Series
"Who's Who of Stage and Screen"

I lost my father in this

I lost my father in this fire. I was 17.

I lost a family member too

I have always had questions about this fire - I would like to compare notes with you. Please let me know how we can connect to discuss this.

I lost a family member too

I am interested in connecting with anyone who has information on this fire. Thanks for the post about the YouTube news report - I had never seen that.


I agree that it needs more

I agree that it needs more recognition. My great uncle was the captain that night. If u have seen the you tube video he is william mccord.

article | by Dr. Radut