Memorial Mass marks 27 years since Happy Land fire

A memorial Mass was held at St. Thomas Aquinas Church Saturday to honor the memory of the 87 people that died during a fire 27 years ago inside the Happy Land social club.



The incident occurred in 1995, when Julio Gonzalez poured gasoline on the club's entrance and lit the establishment on fire after fighting with his ex-girlfriend.



The social club, which was located at 1959 Southern Boulevard, had no sprinkler system and the fire exits were blocked.



Thelma Thigpen was just 8 years old when her mom, a bartender at Happy Land, died in the blaze.



"We keep the memories alive. We talk about her every day," she told News 12.


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