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Firefighters attack a seven-alarm fire in downtown Baltimore, MD, on May 9, 1938.
Photo credit: Photo from Collection of Gary E. Frederick
MIDDLETOWN, CT: JUNE 1, 1912 – Wesleyan College suffered its second fire in two weeks when flames broke out at around noon in the Chi Psi Lodge. It was believed an electrical problem ignited the third-floor fire, which extended to the roof. Firefighters saved the structure, although serious water damage occurred on the floors below. Students and fraternity members helped the firemen remove valuables from below the fire area.
CONSTANTINOPLE (ISTANBUL) TURKEY: JUNE 3, 1912 – A large fire swept through the Stamboul section of the city. The fire left a path of destruction of three-quarters of a mile long. Some 2,000 houses and several mosques were burned. The fire left hundreds of poor families with little or nothing.
BROOKLYN, NY: JUNE 5, 1912 – A sudden shift of wind saved a large part of Brighton Beach as a fire tore through the neighborhood. The fire broke out in a photographers’ shed on the boardwalk. Fanned by a brisk wind, flames leaped from building to building. Three alarms were transmitted and firemen, with the help of the wind change, soon had the blaze under control.
CRANFORD, NJ: JUNE 7, 1912 – It was shortly before 5 A.M. when a maid sleeping on the top floor of the large three-story home woke up to the smell of smoke. She spread the alarm with loud shouts of “Fire!” and soon had the household awake. Cranford firemen and workers from the large home helped save several family members over ladders. Quick-acting firemen salvaged a number of valuable items, including oil paintings and furniture.
TAMBOY, RUSSIA: JUNE 11, 1912 – Fifty-nine field laborers were burned to death during the early-morning hours when flames tore through the barn in which they were sleeping. The huge barn belonged to Count Orloff-Davydoff. The cause of the fire was not determined.
HASTINGS, NY: JUNE 11, 1912 – Hundreds of residents from neighboring communities came to watch a huge fire in the Zinsser Chemical Works. The fiercely burning fire was highlighted by huge alcohol explosions. One large tank, containing 30,000 gallons of oil, blew up at about 4 o’clock in the morning. The force of the explosion was felt in Yonkers and windows were broken a mile from the blast. Firemen dodged kegs of alcohol hurled flaming through the air by explosions. Several rocketing kegs exploded high above the fireground.
BEVERLY, NJ: JUNE 12, 1912 – A lamp exploded in the hallway of the Neidich mansion, setting it on fire. The family dog, “Bill,” sniffed smoke and began barking to warn the family, but no one woke up. With the flames spreading rapidly before him, “Bill” leaped through the flames and dashed to his master’s bedroom. This time, his furious barking woke the family. They safely escaped with their singed dog in hand.
WEST POINT, NY: JUNE 13, 1912 – The old West Point Hotel, a four-story brick structure owned by the government, caught fire and burned. A defective flue was believed to have started the blaze. The entire military force of the academy responded and battled the blaze and salvaged furniture and other valuables.
BUFFALO, NY: JUNE 16, 1912 – The entire fire department was called out to battle two separate fires in the lumber district between Seneca and Elk streets and Buffalo Creek. The flames, fanned by high winds, were soon out of control. The Crate & Taylor Lumber Yard was in flames from end to end, several warehouses were ablaze and a dozen small homes were burning as firemen struggled to stop the spreading wall of fire. A large pile of lumber collapsed, killing Captain J.J. Leary of Truck 4. Several other firemen were injured.
QUEBEC, CANADA: JUNE 24, 1912 – A large fire destroyed more than 120 buildings in the city of Chicoutimi. Several blocks of stores, private homes, the town hall, the Chateau Saguenay and the Chicoutimi Hotel were also destroyed. The flames burned for several hours before the fire could be brought under control.
DUSSELDORF, GERMANY: JUNE 27, 1912 – The Zeppelin Schwaben I arrived from Frankfurt, but high winds prevented the airship from being directed into the balloon shed. The airship was temporarily moored outside with the help of a large detachment of soldiers. A gust of wind wrenched the craft upward, pulling the ropes from many of the soldiers. As the balloon rose its back broke and escaping hydrogen exploded, setting the craft on fire. Within seconds, the entire craft was a sheet of flames. Thirty-four workers and soldiers were burned as the flaming craft crashed to the ground and was destroyed.
PORTLAND, ME: JUNE 30, 1912 – A fire of unknown origin threatened the entire waterfront as two Boston vessels, the barkentine Kremlin and the three-masted schooner Sally I’On, burned fiercely while docked at Beakes’s Wharf. Both ships had just unloaded their cargoes of lumber when the fire started. Crew members had narrow escapes as the fire spread quickly from the ships to the piles of lumber nearby. The fire department arrived to find three wharfs, huge piles of lumber and two large ships ablaze. Quick work by the firemen on land with help from a fireboat and a revenue cutter knocked the wall of flames down before they could spread further. Several men who had abandoned ship were fished from the water by the fireboat.