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BROOKLYN, NY: AUG. 1, 1912 – Shortly after 10 A.M., there was a grating sound at a construction site at Hoyt and Livingston streets. Twenty workers looked up as a mass of girders supporting the unfinished roof collapsed. Bricks and steelwork fell, burying many workers. An FDNY hook-and-ladder company arrived quickly, placed the aerial ladder to a window and entered the building. Doing careful work, the firefighters extricated five workmen from the twisted wreckage. The men were taken to a nearby hospital in serious condition.
PITTSBURGH, PA: AUG. 7, 1912 – Three girls were killed and a dozen were seriously injured when a water tank on top of the Union American Cigar Co. building, at 28th and Smallman streets collapsed. The newly erected tank was having water pumped into it for the first time when the supports gave way. The tank, its supports, sections of the roof and 3,000 gallons of water plunged through the building, trapping a number of workers. Firefighters arrived quickly and began the rescue work.
CORLU, TURKEY: AUG. 9, 1912 – A severe earthquake upset an oil lamp that started a conflagration. As the inhabitants ran excitedly into the streets, frightened by the shaking of the buildings and the ground around them, the fire began to spread. More than 300 houses were in flames and the fire was still spreading as night fell. Other cities in the area were suffering the same fates as major fires burned in Gallipoli, Ganos-Hora, Myriophite and Shar-Koi. The collapsing buildings and the fires that followed killed hundreds of people.
CORNWALLVILLE, NY: AUG. 9, 1912 – Shady Glen, one of the best-known hotels in the Catskills, was destroyed by a fire while most of the guests were away attending a masquerade ball. The fire was discovered in the laundry and spread rapidly. With no fire department in the town closest to the hotel, Cornwallville, a mile away, the fire expanded until the building was fully involved. The occupants and staff lost everything they had.
NEW YORK CITY: AUG. 10, 1912 – Hot cinders from a steam locomotive set fire to the transfer station of the New York Central Railroad on Pier 72 at 33rd Street. The flames spread to the pier as firefighters were arriving. Members of Engine 26 stretched a line of hose out toward the end of the pier to help fight the fire from the water side where three fireboats were operating. The blaze, fanned by a breeze, ate away at the roof supports and caused it to collapse. As it fell, it took three firefighters with it into the river. Luckily, they swam to safety. The fire extended to the adjacent pier, but was extinguished quickly.
LONDON, ENGLAND: AUG. 24, 1912 – A fire in the British General Post Office caused worldwide speculation and alarm. Even though the flames were limited to the telegraph department, for a time banks across Europe were worried the fire would extend to the mails and the vast money orders departments. The fire did not damage those, but did temporarily knock out virtually all of the international telegraphic capabilities of the nation.
CHICAGO, IL: AUG. 24, 1912 – A fire in the Chicago Golf Club’s clubhouse caused serious damage, but did not stop the venue from hosting the National Amateur Championship the following month. The fire was first noticed as flames shot up through the roof, causing members and guests playing out on the course to hurry back to the blazing building. A makeshift bucket brigade of judges, bankers and athletes struggled to stop the spreading flames. Except for one wing, the clubhouse was destroyed.
ROSLYN, NY: AUG. 28, 1912 – With smoke-blackened faces, a score of New York millionaires who are members of the Ros-lyn Volunteer Fire Department labored in a futile attempt to save a $300,000 ($12 million in today’s value) home that was one of the showplaces of the exclusive summer colony. Their inability to save the structure was due to severe water problems, but they did remove a substantial amount of furnishings, rare art treasures and other valuables from the blazing structure.