1. #1
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    Default looking for info on worst loss of life in a fire in us history

    hey gang whats up

    if u could tell me the worst loss of life in us fire history it would be apreciated . need it for some research work thanks and take care

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    Peshtigo forest fire I believe - whole town crispied up.

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    Early 80's, NJ, nursing home - 9 residents perished from a cigarette fire.

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    From a PBS article....

    "In September of 1918, soldiers at an army base near Boston suddenly began to die. The cause of death was identified as influenza, but it was unlike any strain ever seen. As the killer virus spread across the country, hospitals overfilled, death carts roamed the streets and helpless city officials dug mass graves. It was the worst epidemic in American history, killing over 600,000--until it disappeared as mysteriously as it had begun."


    In the DCFD at the time we had only one shift of Firemen, it was called continuos duty. Six men died on duty from this "Spanish Flu" and are listed among the 98 who are declared line of duty deaths.

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    Texas city, Texas ship explosion or the riverboat fire that killed over 1500 soldiers returning from the Civil War. Also, I think 167 civilians were killed in a circus tent fire in Ohio(?).
    Craig Walker

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    Default GOT TO GO WITH GRIT ON THIS ONE

    The Great Peshtigo Fire and its aftermath claimed 1,125 lives. Many died of suffocation in wells where they had sought shelter, others drowned in the rivers, most simply could not escape the onrushing flames. The Great Peshtigo Fire was, and is, the worst fire in the history of the United States, taking more lives than the next two worst fires combined. Yet most people have never heard of the Great Peshtigo Fire because, strangely, it occurred at the exact same time as America's most famous fire - the Great Chicago Fire.

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    Grit and MOTOWN88 are right. The Peshtigo, Wisconsin fire makes for some great research material. While claiming nearly 1200 lives, it consumed over a million acres, yet no one has ever heard of it.

    The riverboat that Firediver speaks of was the result of a boiler explosion. Depending what sources you read it took as many as 1700 lives. Most of them Union soldiers returning from POW camps and Southern Campaigns. Exact figures are impossible to obtain since there was no passenger manifest. Although most people think that the Titanic was the world's worst maritime accident, the SS Sultana (the name of the riverboat)should probably bear that title.

    I guess the title of largest fire death incident would hinge on whether you considered those killed in the boiler explosion were actually "fire deaths" or not.
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    Default It wasn't even close to the worse but it was bad

    In the late 1940s the St. Anthony Hospital in Effingham, Illinois caught fire and burnt to the ground. I'm not sure of the exact count of the killed but I do know it was pretty high. Included in the dead was 17 newborns, dozens of other paitents and several staff trying to save teh PTS. The hospital was an old (I believe 6 story) wooden building. The fire was started in the laundry room and went up the laundry chute and burnt the hospital to the ground. One of the Drs served as a field surgeon in WWII and he said it was worse than anything he saw in 3 years of war. I've seen pictures of it and I can't even imagine the suffering of all involved.

    code_blue81
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    code_blue81,
    HERE IS THE HOSPITAL FIRE INFO.



    Crowded quarters in the hospital would not permit the kind of care St. Anthony's was committed to give. In 1945, a temporary home for the Sisters was erected and the Sisters moved from the third floor of the hospital, providing space to increase patient capacity to 110. The second part of the plan provided for building a new hospital in 1951 or 1952...so they thought.

    At midnight, a blaze of unknown origin engulfed the hospital. Within minutes the building was an inferno. Seventy-seven lives were lost including 11 infants in the nursery. Charred ruins were all that remained of St. Anthony Hospital.

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    Default That's the one

    That's the one MoTown
    Dr. Herbert Webb (who just passed away 2 years ago) personally took up to rebuild the hospital. It took about 8 years but he was able to raise the money and built a new one. We worked in the hospital for over 50years and died at the age of 82(?) still working 40 hours/week in the ER. Boy do I miss him.

    Anyway, thanks Motown.

    Also, FYI the new hospitals OB dept is a tribute to one nurse that tried to rescue the newborn that perished in the hospital fire. She was found dead with the children in sheets near one of the stairwells.

    code_blue81
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    Another ship fire in Texas City, Texas. A fertilizer cargo exploded on a cargo ship in port. The blast was so powerful it knocked two planes out of the sky. If your research is for firefighter deaths the entire 28 member Texas City FD was killed. They never got a total count on civilian deaths.
    "What makes a person run into a building others are running out of?...Character."- Dennis Smith

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    Default What you need may be right here...

    I have been working on a thesis paper for my English class now for a good while, and have found the most helpful info right here on Firehouse. My topic is "The History and Evolution of the Fire Service," I may change it a bit, but the topic stands for now.

    Try http://www.firehouse.com/magazine/american/index.html

    Go to "Fire Disasters: What Lessons Have We Learned?"

    Hope this helps...

    ~Courtney

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    Originally posted by Bones
    Early 80's, NJ, nursing home - 9 residents perished from a cigarette fire.
    9? It would be nice if this was the largest loss of life incident, but it doesn't come close.
    David Brooks,
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    (All opinions are my own)

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    NYC Triangle Shirt-Waste Factory fire (I believe I read somewhere that today is the "anniversary" of it)....

    Happy Land night club, also NYC.

    Catholic school in Chicago (?) children were found dead at their desks praying.

    There have been several hotels as well, MGM Grand sticks out at the moment. There was one in Puerto Rico, I believe, as well.
    Last edited by DianeC; 03-22-2002 at 03:31 PM.
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    San Francisco had several huge fires in the 1800's that killed lots of people... worth some research

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    The reason that the Peshtigo fire is not well known is that it happened at the same time as the Great Chicago Fire of 1871!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    The worst that I can think of and the most publcized is the big chicago fire, you all know of that, they rebounded and with everything, it will bounce back.

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    Can anybody tell me more on the Triangle shirt factory fire? I remember hearing about it in fire school, but don't remember much.
    Mike

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    PlattsFire1,
    TRY THIS SITE

    http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/trianglefire/

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    The Peshtigo fire was the deadliest forest fire ever in America. more than 1200 people killed as the fire leveled the town in about an hour. 5X's more peaple died there than in Chicago, and in all the fire had burned about 2400sq miles

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    Also, I think 167 civilians were killed in a circus tent fire in Ohio(?).

    I believe you are referring to the Barnum and Bailey Circus Fire that occured in 1944 in Hartford CT. 167 people died, and most of them were under the age of 15.

    Lady.
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    Plattsfire1, I believe it was the Discovery Channel that did a show on the Triangle fire. It was an excellent show and if you can get a copy of it I would recommend watching it if you'd like more info on the incident.

    The site MOTOWN sent through is also an excellent resource!

    Lady.
    "Let every nation know..that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty"---JFK, Jan.1961

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    Lightbulb

    How many died at Coconut Grove? Wasn't it 400+ victims?
    Craig Walker

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    Although not the worst fire, the Our Lady of Angels School fire in Chicago is the one that hits closest to home for me. 91 children and teachers died in that incendiary blaze. The book "To Sleep With the Angels" was written about this fire and in my opinion is a must read for any firefighter, inspector, investigator, or educator.

    Just for your info Steamer, neither the Titanic nor that riverboat fire come close to being the largest maritime disaster. On Jan 30, 1945 between 6000 and 7000 Germans fleeing Russia on a ship called the Wilhelm Gustloff were killed when it was sunk by a Russian U-boat. As well, over 2000 were killed in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Dec. 6, 1917 when a munitions ship collided with another ship causing an explosion.

    Great post, very interesting read.

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    Man-o-fire posted:
    Just for your info Steamer, neither the Titanic nor that riverboat fire come close to being the largest maritime disaster. On Jan 30, 1945 between 6000 and 7000 Germans fleeing Russia on a ship called the Wilhelm Gustloff were killed when it was sunk by a Russian U-boat. As well, over 2000 were killed in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Dec. 6, 1917 when a munitions ship collided with another ship causing an explosion.
    That's what I meant to say!

    I stand corrected. BTW, this piqued my interest in maritime disasters and I found the sinking of the Junyo Maru sunk in September 1944 where 5620 Allied POWs were lost. I had never heard of this incident.

    I don't remember where I learned about the Sultana, but the story was interesting. Obviously some of the info was wrong.
    Last edited by Steamer; 03-22-2002 at 07:56 PM.
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