Great Baltimore Fire

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Baltimore_fire_aftermath.jpg
The aftermath of the fire.

The Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 raged in Baltimore, Maryland, from 10:48 a.m. Sunday, February 7, to 5:00 p.m. Monday, February 8, 1904. Over 1,231 firefighters were required to bring the blaze under control.

The fire was reported first at the John Hurst and Company building at 10:48 a.m. and quickly spread. By 1:30 p.m., units from Washington, DC, were arriving. To halt the fire, officials decided to use a firewall, and dynamited buildings around the existing fire. This tactic, however, was unsuccessful.

One reason for the fire's duration was the lack of national standards in fire-fighting equipment. Although fire engines from nearby cities (such as Philadelphia and Washington, as well as units from New York, Wilmington, and Atlantic City) responded, many were useless because their hose couples failed to fit Baltimore hydrants. As a result, the fire burned over 30 hours, destroying 1,526 buldings spanning 70 city blocks.

It was long believed that no lives were lost directly to the fire. Many books written on the Great Fire said no deaths occurred as a direct relation to the fire, and a plaque that commemorates the Great Fire also reads "Lives Lost: None." However, a recently rediscovered Baltimore Sun newspaper story from the time tells of the charred remains of a "colored man" being pulled from the harbor, near the area where the USS Constellation is docked in modern times, days after the fire. Why this death was ignored for almost a century is unknown, though racism may have played a role.

In the aftermath, 35,000 people were made unemployed. After the fire, the city was rebuilt using more fireproof materials, such as granite pavers.

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