Fire Extinguisher : 101

Fire Extinguisher : 101

Biggest Fires in History

About Fire Extinguishers
Using a Fire Extinguisher
Fire Prevention
Fire Hazards
First Aid for Fire
Financial Protection
Biggest Fires in History

This site was voted:
Fantastic Fire Safety Website
(scroll to 74 on the list)


This page provides general information about the great fires in history.

World history is rife with stories and lore that blame great fires for the destruction of vast areas or entire cities. From the great fire that sacked Rome in 64 B.C. to the fires that raged through the Australian landscape in 2002, fire remains one of man's most difficult battles.

Here are some of the most famous fires that occurred in the last few centuries:

The Great Chicago Fire
The Great Chicago fire is probably the most famous fire that occurred within the past hundred years or so. This fire occurred on the evening of October 8, 1871. The summer of 1871 was unusually dry in Chicago. With all its wooden buildings, Chicago was kindling waiting to burn. Incidentally, the city of Chicago had finished building all of the downtown’s sidewalks out of wood right before the fire.

This fire killed 300 people and destroyed more than 17,000 structures - over 2000 acres in 27 hours. The origin of the fire is uncertain, though popular legend attributes its origin to a woman named Mrs. O'Leary. Mrs. O'Leary was milking her cow at the start of the fire.

Legend has it that a farm animal kicked over her lamp, setting the barn on fire and starting the spread of one of the biggest fires in history. The fire destroyed the entire downtown core of Chicago and most of its North side.

The history of National Fire Prevention Week has it roots in the Great Chicago Fire. On the fire's 40th anniversary, the Fire Marshals Association of North America decided to commemorate it with something that would keep the public aware of the dangers of fire and the importance of fire prevention.

Read more about the Great Chicago Fire.

The Great Fire of London
Next to the Great Chicago Fire, London's historical fire is probably the second most-famous. This fire began in a baker's shop on September 2, 1666 and lasted for several days. Surprisingly, the Great London Fire has no reported death toll. It destroyed more than 13,000 structures.

London was also a city largely built of wood, another kindling waiting to burn. When the city was rebuilt, builders used brick and stone to prevent a disaster of such proportions from ever happening again.

Read more about the Great London Fire.

San Francisco Earthquake Fire
San Francisco's great fire occurred as a result of a tremendous earthquake that took place in the morning of April 18, 1906. Fires began from stoves and lamps that were overturned from the earthquake. The earthquake destroyed the city's water mains, making it nearly impossible for firefighters to fight the blaze. As a result, the fire lasted for three days until firefighters decided to dynamite entire blocks to prevent the spread of the fire. This disaster took its toll, killing 3,000 people and destroying close to 300,000 structures.

Read more about the Great San Francisco Fire.

A Tribute to Firefighters - The men and women, who risk their lives daily to keep our homes and communities safe from the damaging and potentially fatal effects of fire, deserve a special tribute. Firefighters are often overworked and underappreciated, yet instead of complaining, more often than not, they tell you how much they love their job. Do we realize how conscientious and dedicated these public servants are to their communities?



Home | About Fire Extinguishers | Using a Fire Extinguisher | Fire Prevention
Fire Hazards | First Aid for Fire | Financial Protection | Biggest Fires in History
Resources | Site Map | Articles | Advertising on fire-extinguisher101