Sometimes it takes a fire to prevent a fire, that is to prevent another fire from happening or better control a fire already in progress. To further clarify, experience is an excellent teacher. However, this does not go to say a fire should be set for study purposes. It simply means in the aftermath, newer and better ways of fire prevention and fighting fires result as the cause and severity of fires are studied.
Today, we step back to a time when a city was totally unprepared for the catastrophic event it was about to encounter but yet came out ahead, except for the loss of life that can never be regained. It had been only one year since fire ravaged the city and residential areas of Chicago in The Great Fire of 1871 so the nation was already aware of the resultant...immense devastation. Now, The Great Fire of 1872 made Boston, Massachusetts look like a war zone. Unprepared, many only stood by and watched the city burn, burn, burn!
The Great Boston Fire was Boston's largest urban fire and still one of the most costly fire-related property losses in American history. The conflagration began at 7:20 p.m. on November 9, 1872, in the basement of a commercial warehouse at 83-87 Summer Street in Boston, Massachusetts. The fire was finally contained twelve hours later, after it had consumed about 65 acres of Boston's downtown, 776 buildings, and much of the financial district and caused $73.5 million in damage. At least twenty people are known to have died in the fire. Source: On This Day in History
As with any fire, many challenges faced the firefighters on this day in 1872. The equipment available was no where near the advanced stages on hand today nor were the buildings built to fire code specifications with fire retardant materials as required in the 21st century. As a result, many of those who perished in the flames of destruction were firefighters.
Trailer for 1 hour documentary about the Great Fire of Boston airing on PBS.
Remain mindful each and everyday of those who fight the fires. They perform duties with an immense amount of bravery often putting their own lives on the line in order to protect and assist others in distress.