You are here: Real Ghost Stories :: Haunted Places :: Burning Tragedy

Real Ghost Stories

Burning Tragedy


This story takes place in the city of Tijuana, Mexico.

The tragedy happened on December 22, 1951. There was a big Christmas party for children living in poverty and they were to receive gifts, food and everything that a Christmas party implies. This was taking place at a multi-purpose room located in a 3-story building; the first floor was used as a small movie theater and the third floor was the multi-purpose room, I don't know what the second floor was for.

At about 22:00, the operator of the movie theater was informed that there was smoke coming out of the multi-purpose room, and he hurried to get the people out of the theater. They could get out safely, but unfortunately the children, some local personalities and other adults, didn't.

The four emergency exits were shut, so there was only one door available to escape the fire. It was started by a malfunction of the Christmas tree, and the fire spread rapidly.

That night, about one hundred people died and probably there were as many injured attendants. There were not enough ambulances so taxi drivers helped by taking people to hospitals. Also, firefighters from National City, San Diego and Chula Vista, CA helped putting out the fire.

I had to give you the whole background before getting to the ghostly stuff. That place is still there, and some brave inhabitants dare to call it home. It looks dreadful from the outside, and once you walk in there is some kind of pressure on the chest that, unless you are familiar with the paranormal, makes it hard to remain calm.

You can still see the damage of the fire, for some reason it was never repaired. At first sight, you know that there is something extraordinary going on in that building. I visited the place and talked to some of the people who are currently living there, all of them agreed to have seen or heard strange "things" at different times of the day.

A lady who has been living at The Coliseum ("El Coliseo" is the name of the building) for the last 15 years, affirms that she has seen a bunch of children rushing to one of the rooms (the building also works as a hotel) and then disappear inside. Also, she states that sometimes at night you can hear screaming in the room where the fire started.

I tried to capture some ghosts or any evidence of what happens there but I was unlucky, however, the feeling of sadness and dread are enough evidence for me.

Other hauntings by Hawkgirl

Hauntings with similar titles

Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Hawkgirl, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

granchewbacca (1 posts)
11 years ago (2012-12-30)
Hi to all, after reading some of the comments I can't believe that some guys who
Used to live in Tijuana in the past never heard about the Coliseo building fire
It still stands as the most horrible tragedy that has ever happened in Tijuana.

I used to live in that third floor at the front of the building where a
Radio station used to be at the time of the fire, which razed the whole third floor
From the back of the building towards the front.

I lived there from 1978 to 1981, I remember one night that I was awake while the rest of
My family was already asleep, I always had problems to go to sleep in my teens.
I heard a small girl's voice like that of a five y.o. Coming from the wall at my left,
Calling "mamá", the walls of the building are very thick and muffle all sounds coming from
Adjacent apartments so I was really puzzled, my mother who was awakened by the voice answered
Thinking it was one of my three sisters calling her "mamá" but they all answered that it wasn't them

My mother realizing this, addressed the voice in a maternal tone to appease her, the sound of the voice
Was an anguished call for "momma", really made me empathize with it.

We used to hear strange sounds all the time, one that was very annoying was the sound of a marble being
Repeatedly thrown to the floor of the upper apartment, needless to say that from the fourth floor to the fifth
Are completely empty to this day, only Don Roberto the old consierge lived at the top sixth floor of the building
He was a young man when the fire happened, he worked there from the inauguration until his death about nine
Years ago, he also referred stories of things he saw and heard, strange things.

Everyone who has ever lived in the building can attest to the veracity of such occurrences, I still have more stories
To tell if interested.
zombies (1 posts)
14 years ago (2010-12-06)
I signed up after viewing the story, for anyone wondering how the place looks like here's some pics




& even a interview with one of the firefighters who was there.

Here's more info on the story. Use google translate to read it in your language

Lix80 (guest)
14 years ago (2010-11-14)
What building is that?, I live in tj and this is the first time I have heard of this. Id like to go there and see the building myself!
slim17 (1 posts)
14 years ago (2009-12-19)
I live in national city and this is the first time I have heard of this.
Almighty91 (1 posts)
15 years ago (2009-06-12)
Hi, I've been staying in tijuana with my friend for a few months now. After reading your story I had to check it out for myself. Although we didn't go inside the place it defiantely has a strange aura to it. If you plan on going back let me know! I'd love to help try to get some images or at least maybe see something...
triscint (1 stories) (31 posts)
15 years ago (2009-05-22)
That is horrible. It's sounds like the ghost arn't agry just want you to know that there still there.
Luca (1 stories) (83 posts)
16 years ago (2008-09-12)
I signed up to the site just to answer your've just made me remember a dream I had several years ago.

I lived in Tijuana until I was 14-15, then I moved to another state but that's beside the point.

Anyway, I've always had very violent dreams, since I can remember, even when I was very very young (I'm 22 now), things like very graphic accidents, murders or stuff like that.

I guess I was about 12; one night I dreamt about riding in the car with my mom, apparently after picking me up from school, we rode around the block my house was in and passed a burning building, I could hear the frantic screams of everyone inside, it was terrifying. I could also see the dark shapes of the people trapped inside through the smoke that came out of the windows.
But what really disturbed me was the fact that a fire engine was parked right in front of the building, and the firemen were just standing quietly, without moving or trying to put out the fire. It's a dream I haven't been able to forget.

During all those years I lived in Tijuana, I never heard the story about El Coliseo...ever. Maybe I should do some research.
Hawkgirl (6 stories) (55 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-28)
Thanks everyone for your comments. It is indeed a very sad story. And Jasmin, I am not a researcher but I've lived in Tijuana almost my whole life and this place in particular called my attention when my mom's friend told us the story. I reviewed some of the local newspapers of that year and after verifying that the story was true, I decided to go and see what is like to live in a place like El Coliseo.
Jasmin314 (13 stories) (210 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-28)
This is a very sad story. My question to you; Are you a researcher or why did you visit this building?
whitebuffalo (guest)
16 years ago (2008-07-28)
Hello Hawkgirl,
While being stationed in San Diego, California, I had the pleasure to visit Tijuana, Mexico. To be honest, the lure of inexpensive gifts for home, and the thought of checking out the various nightclubs and bars had it's strongest pull. The most heart breaking sight were the children lined up at the boarder selling matches, daisies, and sitting all along the tunnel's walls with so little.
El Coliseo is a place set aside as a type of learning tool for many in the area. So much horror happened that night and in its ill repair, many feel that they will immortalize the moment. It is preserved in it's fire state as a reminder of all that was lost.
With that set up, it is easy to see why the children are still seen. Also a few of the local celebrities have been sighted still lingering, and trying to help the children escape.
In truth, one of the Head Liners lost his biggest following due to the impression his demise left on the air. He is seen throwing a child aside to save himself. What a sad picture to leave behind.
Thank you for sharing.
ChrisB (6 stories) (1515 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-28)
Thank you for sharring this sad story with us. It is a mystery why innocent children leave this world so early. It is something we will never understand. The tragedy that happened on that day changed so many peoples lives. It is just sad to even think that some spirits are reliving this whole event. I don't think I ever met you here yet Hawkgirl but I have to say that its a pleasure. I hope I will be able to read your other stories soon. I hope to hear from you soon and take care
Tonith (1136 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-27)
While the atmosphere can hold impressions of traumatic events I would like to think this is only residual haunting. I would like to think those children being impoverished to begin with are not trapped in that place of their horrible demise. I'm sure they are not but the impression is still there and will no doubt always be.
girlie (15 stories) (426 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-26)
HI, WOW that is so sad. Hey I argee with esha. It must had been so sad hearing kids crying and sreamig for help and no body could do anything to help them. Oh it almost makes me cry to think about that. And it's hard to make me cry. The lasted time I cryed about something when so many poeple died in was when one of my favorate actors died in a movie. And even then it was hard for me to cry. I mean, I didn't even cry at my great aunt's funenle. Sorry Betty.
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-26)
Hi Hawkgirl-that was a terribly sad story!

I can't even begin to imagine the horror and painful death of these poor souls!

I'm sure this place still ehoes the panic and despair of that fearful night!
dreamergal72 (6 stories) (793 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-25)
Wow that very sadly and yeah it hard to catch by take picture or whatever of ghost/spirt cause they are fast like a speed bullet.
FRAWIN (guest)
16 years ago (2008-07-25)
Hello Hawkgirl. Thank you for sharing this story with us. It was extremely interesting. I will be looking forward to your future stories. Keep on trying and eventually you will capture something. Take Care.

mustang (5 stories) (749 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-25)
Hi Hawkgirl. OMG! That is terrible. This is an extremely sad story. I can't even imagine ever hearing those poor children screaming and crying.

esha (1 stories) (16 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-25)
wow that is incredibly sad, and it must be horrible to hear those childrens cry for help.

To publish a comment or vote, you need to be logged in (use the login form at the top of the page). If you don't have an account, sign up, it's free!

Search this site: