Happy Land fire victims remembered 25 years later

The fire claimed the lives of 87 people, making it one of the deadliest in the city's history.

The fire claimed the lives of 87 people, making it one of the deadliest in the city's history. (3/25/15)

THE BRONX - It was a somber occasion Wednesday for those who lost loved ones 25 years ago in a tragic nightclub fire in the Bronx.

Flames broke out at the Happy Land social club in Crotona Park East, killing 87 people on March 25, 1990. It is one of the deadliest fires in New York City history.

Julio Gonzalez poured gasoline on the club's entrance and set it ablaze after getting into a fight with an ex-girlfriend and being kicked out of the club. Officials say the victims were trapped inside the club because the fire exits were blocked to keep people from sneaking in without paying.

The fire is credited with helping to pass stricter regulations for nightclubs, including occupancy limits, exit signs and smoke detectors.

Community Board 6 says Gonzalez was denied parole more than a week ago, and is serving extra time for the fire.

A memorial Mass and vigil was held at the Saint Thomas Aquinas Church on Crotona Parkway.

More on this topic

25th anniversary of the Happy Land fire

More information on memorial mass

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