1937 Fox vault fire

Fire at 20th Century-Fox film storage facility in New Jersey / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A major fire broke out in a 20th Century-Fox film-storage facility in Little Ferry, New Jersey, United States, on July 9, 1937. Flammable nitrate film had previously contributed to several fires in film-industry laboratories, studios, and vaults, although the precise causes were often unknown. In Little Ferry, gases produced by decaying film, combined with high temperatures and inadequate ventilation, resulted in spontaneous combustion.

Quick facts: Date, Location, Coordinates, Cause, Outcome...
1937 Fox vault fire
A pile of metal cans outside a fire-damaged brick building
Piles of ruined film cans outside the fire-damaged vault building
DateJuly 9, 1937 (1937-07-09)
LocationLittle Ferry, New Jersey, United States
Coordinates40.8550°N 74.0475°W / 40.8550; -74.0475
CauseSpontaneous ignition of Nitrate film resulting from heat wave
OutcomeDestruction of archived silent films of the Fox Film Corporation and Educational Pictures
Non-fatal injuries2

One death and two injuries resulted from the fire, which also destroyed all the archived film in the vaults, resulting in the loss of most of the silent films produced by the Fox Film Corporation before 1932. Also destroyed were negatives from Educational Pictures to Belarusfilm (with which Fox was then affiliated) and films of several other studios. The fire brought attention to the potential for decaying nitrate film to spontaneously ignite and changed the focus of film preservation efforts to include a greater focus on fire safety.