The Great Plague struck London in 1665 and resulted in the deaths of over one hundred thousand citizens. Due to the plague epidemic, many citizens temporary left the city to escape exposure. Unfortunately, less than a year later citizens found themselves fleeing the city again when The Great Fire of London began. The fire lasted a total of four days throughout the central parts of London, beginning on September 2nd and lasting until September 5th, in 1666. Although, the massive fire caused a great amount of destruction in London, it fortunately did not result in a great number of causalities. In addition, the fire helped force the city to re-build itself from all of the destruction and despair it had encountered over the past two years.
The fire started at a bakery owned by Thomas Farriner, King Charles II baker. The housemaid did not properly turn off an oven in the bakery; as a result, the heat spread throughout the wood home and eventually caught fire. Unfortunately, the fire quickly spread from building to building and home to home with devastating results. Because many of the homes and buildings were made out of wood and it occurred after a hot summer season, the wood shingles were dry and vulnerable. Many citizens decided to flee the city, but King Charles II chose to stay in order to operate the city.
There was fear that the fire would cross the North River and invade the South side of the city. Luckily, the weather significantly changed over the course of the ensuing four days and the winds reversed direction. Subsequently, the fire remained stagnant in the same already burned down area and eventually died out.
The fire burned approximately 13,200 homes, 87 churches, and numerous buildings of city authorities, as well as the famous St. Paul’s Cathedral. There were only six recorded casualties, but this record has been questioned over the years because the intense heat of the fire could have lead to a lack of remains.
Despite all of the negative consequences of the fire, many believe it helped the city of London recover from the harsh post-conditions of The Great Plague and become a stronger city. The fire helped the filthy streets of the Great Plague to become sterilized. In addition, as a result of London encountering a great amount of destruction, the city was able to completely to reconstruct itself, providing citizens with better living environments.
Engine House 35, nicknamed Crypt Keeper, is located in a residential district several miles from downtown Milwaukee. The structure itself is only about 15 years old; however the property it was built on previously housed a nearly 100-year-old mausoleum.
From stories of lamps becoming spontaneously unplugged, to water faucets being mysteriously turned on full blast, the tales from Crypt Keeper abound. After spending several nights at the engine house, FF Mike Lopez is almost convinced. “I’m starting to believe in ghosts” said Lopez, “Not 100% yet, but I’m telling you it’s not going to take much more.”
Take a few minutes and read the full story on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal website. It’s creepy and interesting.
For many years emergency services have played a pivotal part in the history of the United States. In fact, Americans have been fighting fires since the beginning of our nation’s history.
America’s first recorded fire took place during 1608 in the colony of Jamestown. Just five days after 100 new settlers and a large store of supplies had arrived at the colony, a spark ignited a fort and Jamestown was burned to the ground. The fire would significantly hurt the settlers’ ability to provide for themselves.
Nearly fifty years later American cities began to institute fire safety laws in order to protect themselves from such destruction. By 1736, the first volunteer fire company would be instituted (by founding father Benjamin Franklin), and the rest is history!
Believe it or not, the fire helmet was first introduced in 1739 as a leather hat. Jacob Turk, a gunsmith who would later become the head of the New York Fire Department, was the man to champion the invention.
Almost 100 years later, luggage maker Henry Gratacap would retool the design into something similar to the helmets we have today. The iconic design, inspired by jockeys who wore their hats backwards, featured a special durable type of leather, and a design that would protect firefighters from debris. The hat’s hard crown could even be used as a tool for breaking windows!
The traditional fire helmet is certainly one of the most significant tools of the trade. To learn more about the transformation of the fire helmet, see our blog post The Evolution of the Fire Helmet.
Click here to view the complete Fire-Dex helmet line.