The Michigan Daily-Friday, December 5, 1980-Page 5
WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. fire investigators search through the rubble of what was the meeting room of the Stouffer's Inn of
Westchester. They were searching for clues to the cause of a fire there yesterday that claimed 26 lives.
Fire in N.Y.i clams 26lives
From AP and UPI
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - An electrical fire flashed
through the conference rooms of a suburban inn
yesterday, killing 26 people and injuring 40.
*Authorities said the area where the fire spread was
not equipped with sprinklers.
"It appears it flashed up suddenly and these people
didn't have a chance," said Purchase Fire Chief
Robert Makowski at the scene of the fire at Stouffer's
Inn of Westchester, about 20 miles north of mid-
WESTCHESTER COUNTY Executive Alfred
DelBello said there was computer equipment in the
room where the fire started, but he said there was
"no foundation" to reports that the fire may have
been caused by an explosion of that equipment.
Rescue workers said five men were trapped and
died when they apparently ran into a closet they
mistook for a fire exit. Five more died piled in a heap
against an emergency exit which had been dead-
County fire investigator Joseph Butler disclosed
that one of the emergency exits from the conference
center had been deadbolted shut.
IT WAS THE nation's second hotel fire with a
heavy death toll- in two weeks, coming 13 days after 84
died and more than 700 were injured at the MGM
Grand Hotel-casino in Las Vegas, Nev.
Makowski said he could tell the fire was electrical
because "the partitions in the walls melted. It was a
very hot, hot fire."
"We could hear noises in the hallway. I heard
someone say, 'Oh my God,' "said Thomas Goodrum,
of Danbury, Conn., a General Foods employee who
was meeting next door to where the fire started.
"Smoke started coming over the top of our
door . . . we couldn't open the windows," he said.
Someone managed to break the sealed windows
with a table, Goodrum said, and "people were pulling
drapes down to start making ropes. The room was
half full of smoke. . . one guy jumped. I dropped out,
but I think somebody broke my fall." He said all 11
people in the room escaped.
In the Las Vegas fire, safety codes did not require
sprinklers in the casino, where the flames caused the
most destruction. In the Westchester fire, sprinklers
were required in guest areas, but not in public
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From AP and UPI
WASHINGTON - President Carter
said yesterday he will veto a $9.1 billion
appropriation bill because it includes
an amendment that would prohibit the
government from asking courts to or-
der busing in school desegregation
"I cannot allow a law to be enacted
which so impairs the government's
ability to enforce our Constitution and
civil rights acts," Carter said in a letter
to Senate Democratic Leader Robert
Byrd of West Virginia.
"THE PRECEDENT that would be
established if this legislation became
law is dangerous," Carter said. "It
would effectively allow the Congress to
tell a president that there are certain
constitutional remedies that he cannot
ask the courts to apply."
The amendment, which was passed
easily by both the House and Senate,
was attached to a funding bill for the
Justice Department and several other
agencies. It would have barred gover-
nment lawyers from asking courts for
desegregation plans that call for busing
children beyond the closest school to
Carter's decision to veto the measure
jeopardizes money to the departments
of Justice, State, and Commerce, and
the federal court system.
IT WAS NOT clear whether Congress
would attempt to override Carter's
veto. Both the House and Senate are
scheduled to hold their last sessions
Carter's decision was announced af-
ter he met at the White House yester-
day with black leaders who urged him
to veto the bill.
Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti
also had said he would urge a veto, and
press secretary Jody Powell said the
bill actually will be vetoed when it
arrives at the White House, probably
"I think we would have a good chance
of sustaining our position" if Congress
sought to override the veto, Powell ad-
Cancer fight forces
Gov. Grasso to resign
From AP and UPI
HARTFORD, Conn. - Gov. Ella
Grasso, declaring that her battle with
cancer had robbed her of the stamina
needed for the job, yesterday announ-
ced "with a heavy heart" that she was.
resigning at the end of the year.
Her resignation takes effect Dec. 31
and Lt. Gov. William O'Neill, 50, a for-
mer legislative leader, will be sworn in
as governor Jan. 1, 1981. .
GRASSO, WHOSE official,
resignation letter said she was leaving
" by reason of physical disability,"
learned last week she had cancer of the
liver. She underwent a hysterectomy in
April for ovarian cancer.
The 61-year-old Democrat was
released from Hartford Hospital earlier
this week after completing the first
phase of chemotherapy for liver can-
Grasso met with O'Neill and other
state leaders before releasing her an-
nouncement to reporters.
"IT TOOK A lot of courage and guts
to do what she did," said State
Democratic Chairman James Fit-
Grasso, first elected to the state chief
executive post in 1974, was the nation's
5 first woman to be elected governor
without having had her husband
precede her in office.
The only other current female gover-
nor is Dixy Lee Ray of Washington.
Since she was defeated in recent elec-
tions, there will be no women governors
in office after January.
"In her quarter century of public ser-
vice to the people of Connecticut and
the nation, Ella Grasso has demon-
strated, and fulfilled, the great poten-
tial of democratic government - in-
tegrity, compassion, and respon-
sibility," President Carter said in a
statement from the White House.
"Her career stands as a testament to
the good work that government can do,
and to the difference one person can
make," he said.
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