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PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND: DEC. 20, 1913 – A fire that started in a sail loft alongside the south railway jetty spread to a large wooden building and tower used to send semaphore signals to military ships. The flames continued and quickly spread to several other buildings. Naval ships sent firefighting teams ashore to help battle the conflagration. Two signalmen perished in the fire.
GULFPORT, MS: DEC. 26, 1913 – After playing a round of golf, President Woodrow Wilson spotted the roof of a large home on fire. He directed his car and another traveling with him to respond to the home. The startled woman of the house opened the door to see the President, who said, “Don’t be alarmed, but your home is on fire. But these men will put the fire out quickly if you’d show them to the attic.” The men – a naval officer, a Secret Service agent and the drivers of the automobiles – hurried inside with fire extinguishers and, under Wilson’s direction, put out the fire.