BALTIMORE, MD, MAY 10, 1962 – A 12-alarm fire raced through huge piles of rags at the S. Shapiro & Sons rag-processing and storage plant. Due to the intensity of the fire, a defensive attack was ordered on arrival. Firefighters were on the scene for 41 days to control hot spots.
Photo credit: Photo from the Collection of Gary E. Frederick
YORK, NE: FEB. 2, 1913 – Firemen arrived to find several homes in flames and fire extending through a door leading into the Baer Furniture Store. Once the firemen were inside the store, the flames raced up an elevator shaft and throughout the building, then extended to the second floor of an adjacent building. Several of the frame buildings collapsed in a shower of sparks and embers as the battle continued. The furniture company was a total loss. Two days later, a fire broke out in a building on West Sixth Street and spread to a half-block of homes, a grocery store and harness shop, the telephone and telegraph company and other buildings.
PITTSTOWN, NJ: FEB. 2, 1913 – Flames broke out in the Pittstown House at 3 A.M. People sleeping in the hotel escaped with only their bedclothes as smoke and fire pressed through the building. Volunteer firemen arrived to find a fire so advanced the building was beyond saving.
SAVANNAH, GA: FEB. 2, 1913 – Five blocks of waterfront properties, including the Merchants and Miners Transportation Co. wharves, Planter’s Rice Mill, American Steel & Wire Co. warehouse and part of the Seaboard Air Line Freight storehouses, were destroyed by an early-morning fire. Following an explosion on the Baltimore wharf of Merchants and Miners, the waterfront quickly became a sheet of flames. Firemen responded to find an acre of fire before them. They battled high winds and fierce flames and made a stand that saved the Ocean Steamship Co. and all its holdings and prevented the fire from jumping the Ogeechee Canal.
CHICAGO, IL: FEB. 11, 1913 – Two hundred families were left homeless after flames swept through two apartment houses at East Sixtieth Street and Washington Avenue. Five hundred firemen using 43 pieces of apparatus worked for four hours battling the blaze. High winds fanned the flames and showered other buildings with flaming brands. A wall collapse buried five firemen who were quickly rescued by their comrades. Firemen rescued 100 people over ladders and fire escapes.
PHILADELPHIA, PA: FEB. 20, 1913 – Only a fortunate change of wind direction and the prompt work of firemen saved the Phillies’ National League baseball park, known as Baker Bowl, from destruction, although the fire wiped out the huge grain elevator of George Egolf & Co. directly across the street. Faced with severe radiant heat, firemen poured thousands of gallons of water on the clubhouse to prevent its ignition. Just as it seemed the waves of heat would win, the wind shifted and let firemen press the attack.