Remembering the victims of the Happy Land social club fire, 31 years later
Thursday marks 31 years since an act of arson at the Happy Land social club claimed 87 lives.
The West Farms club was set on fire by Julio Gonzalez after he got into an argument with his girlfriend who worked there in the coat room. Most of the victims were young people.
Gonzalez was sentenced to 25 years in prison for multiple counts of murder. He died of natural causes in 2016.
Last year, News 12 published a detailed account of the incident with insights from survivors, family members and officials, as well as archival photos and video.
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Community Board 6 usually holds a memorial to commemorate the lives lost but canceled this year due to the pandemic. They are planning a prayer service later in the summer.
A memorial to those killed in the Happy Land social club fire is displayed in a small park across the street from the former club's location.