The 1934 Kerns Hotel fire, considered to be the worst fire in the Lansing history and responsible for 32 deaths, is the inspiration for a new novel by Barbara Saxena, a local area physician and author.
The author will discuss the fire and her novel at a meeting of the Historical Society of Greater Lansing, Thursday, February 21, 7 p.m., in the auditorium of the downtown branch of the Capital Area District Library.
Saxena said she first ran across the history of the hotel while doing genealogy research on her family and it inspired her to write the historical novel “Souviens” which deals with the real life tragedy of the Hotel Kerns fire.
“It is part medical mystery and part historical novel,” she said
Saxena said she will discuss how she integrated her historical research into the novel and how she used the actual occurrence to write a fictional account of the tragedy.
The author is a lifelong resident of the Lansing area, a Waverly High School graduate and a family practice practitioner in Grand Ledge.
The 162 room Kerns Hotel located in the 100 block of N. Grand Avenue was built in 1909 and was a popular residence for legislators. Seven legislators perished in the fire and several others were injured. The fire injured 44 guests including 14 firefighters. A state historical marker has been placed on the site to commemorate both the tragedy and the heroism of the firefighters.