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.
The Cleveland Clinic is consistently rated one of the top hospitals in the nation. However, just eight years after first opening their doors the clinic was faced with a disaster that would change firefighting forever.
In the early 1900s one of the most popular ways to store medial information was on a medium called “Nitrocellulose Film.” Developed by Kodak, this type of film was lightweight and inexpensive. It was also extremely flammable. On May 15, 1929, staff at the Cleveland Clinic noticed a leak in a steam pipe in the basement where their records were kept. They contacted the repairman, but he was unable to find the source of the leak. Several hours later, the steam became serious enough to begin melting the film. This caused several explosions that would send highly toxic gas through the hospital.
Firefighters arrived immediately on the scene, but were unable to enter the building due to the poisonous fumes. Some of the staff and patients were able to escape via raised ladders and spread life nets, however the 123 that breathed the gas would instantly perish.
The disaster at the Cleveland Clinic was unprecedented in its time, and led officials to establish a number of safeguards to prevent such a disaster in the future such as hazardous material storage standards, and standard-issue gas masks.
These images were take on Tuesday, July 1st at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City. It was a very calm morning with blue skies…much like the morning on September 11, 2001.
Right next door, stands the still-being-constructed Freedom Tower.
On September 11, 2001 Ladder Company 3 truck was led by its decorated captain, Patrick “Paddy” John Brown.
The Last Column. A three-story beam of metal that stood in the foundation of the World Trade Center’s South Tower.
There is no question that Fire Fighters have a long and proud history across the world. For years brave men and women have faithfully served to protect the people. But how far back does the Fire Fighting tradition go? It might surprise you that the oldest team of Fire Fighters on record traces back to Ancient Rome.
Wealthy Roman governor, Marcus Licinius Crassus, is on record as having created the first organized fire brigade. However, Crassus was no hero. In ancient times Rome was particularly susceptible to fires due to a combination of the city’s early urban architecture, and the heat of the Italian summer. Crassus took advantage of this by creating his brigade of 500 men who would rush to burning buildings at the first sign of trouble… and negotiate a satisfactory price before beginning to fight the fire. Soon after, early Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus, saw the need for a city-wide fire brigade and in AD 6 created the proud order of the Vigiles Urbani, the Watchmen of the City.
The Vigiles were stationed in city barracks and would patrol the streets for unsupervised fires. Upon finding a budding fire a cohort of Vigiles would dispatch from the barracks with a horse-powered fire engine, and an expert in the city’s water supply – known as an aquaria. During their time as servants of the city, the Vigiles saved many lives, putting out fires, and often laying out mattresses and blankets to allow people to jump to safety. Little did they know that their vigilance would begin a tradition of honor and bravery that would stretch all the way to the 21st century and beyond.
On December 2, 1998, tragedy struck the town of Linton, Australia. The town’s fire department had been fighting a large bushfire that was quickly burning through private and public land. Late in the day, two firefighting crews were called upon for assistance. As the crews and their apparatus entered the hot zone, the winds shifted direction and engulfed the entire team of five volunteer firefighters.
Soon after the incident, an Australian firefighter named J.J. Edmonson began laying the groundwork for the International Firefighters’ Day. The response to the idea was overwhelmingly positive, and the international fire community quickly came together to help coordinate the event.
May 4th was chosen as the day for International Firefighters’ Day, given its significance in Europe as the “Day of Fire Service”, as well as the feast day for patron saint of firefighters, Saint Florian. The symbol chosen was the red and blue ribbon. Edmonson chose these colors to represent the elements that firefighters work with: red for fire and blue for water.
This May 4th, join in with Fire-Dex and firefighters worldwide in honoring International Firefighters’ Day. Participants are asked to proudly display their red and blue ribbons or to participate in a memorial event, showing gratitude to the firefighters everywhere who dedicate their lives to protecting us all.
To learn more about International Firefighters’ Day, visit the official IFFD website.
The Jacksonville Fire Museum in Jacksonville, Florida serves as a link for past and present fire history for Jacksonville. The museum also serves as the State of Florida Fire Museum.
Exhibits include photos and information about the Great Fire of 1901, a fully restored 1902 American LaFrance horse-drawn fire engine (pictured) and a working 1926 American LaFrance fire engine.
The museum was destroyed during the Great Fire of 1901 in Jacksonville on May 3, 1901. In 1973, Fire Station No. 3 was placed on the National Registry of Historical Monuments. The building was declared unstable in 1993 and a restoration project began. Today, Fire Station No. 3 sits in the Jacksonville Metropolitan Park.
Heading to the Sunshine State this spring or summer? Click here and plan your visit to this storied fire museum.
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Photo credit: Jacksonville Fire Museum