A New Year We'll Never Forget

Nearly 100 perish in a suspicious inferno at a San Juan hotel

In just a few hours, New Year's Eve festivities were to begin at the Dupont Plaza in San Juan. The hotel's 423 rooms were filled, and every table in the penthouse restaurant had been reserved. It would be, predicted Howard Puig, assistant manager of the hotel's disco, "the night of the year." On the mezzanine, gamblers were already crowding into the posh casino. Through the large picture windows they could see the pounding surf and a clear blue afternoon sky that seemed to bode well. As bettors hunched forward for yet another round of blackjack and croupiers gave the roulette wheels...

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