I am an architect doing some research on the 1942 coconut grove fire in boston the fire killed 492 people. Behind a wall where the fire started in a basement lounge was the compressor room. A room of about 5' wide x 30 feet long.
The compressor ran on methyl chloride. The fire was spotted in the lounge in a corner at the ceiling, the corner shown in the attached photo. the lounge was aprox. 30' x 50' and packed with about 150-200 people. It was november so I doubt the heater shown in the photo was on. The fire was first started on the ceiling and spread across the ceiling igniting a fabric covering and traveling upstairs in a fireball and smoke along the ceiling and into the big ballroom ceiling. My question is if gas was leaking from the compressor could it have been leaking at a higher temperature than the air around it (the compressor room had a fan in a window near the compressor so I assume it was around 50 of 60 f ) and thus been able to leach through the wall near the ceiling maybe saturating the fabric ceiling near the heater? Methyl chloride is heavier than air so I am trying to figure how it could have gotten up to the ceiling. Could the heaters fan have helped draw the gas to the ceiling. I imagine the heater would be running before patrons started to come to the nightclub.
Any help would be appreciated.