Rekindles: November 1996

If there was a significant fire or emergency that occurred 100 years ago in your department, or your department's 100th anniversary is coming up, please drop us a line for possible inclusion in "Rekindles" in an upcoming issue. Nov. 3, 1896...


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If there was a significant fire or emergency that occurred 100 years ago in your department, or your department's 100th anniversary is coming up, please drop us a line for possible inclusion in "Rekindles" in an upcoming issue.

Nov. 3, 1896: JERSEY CITY, NJ Following the election of William McKinley as president of the United States, citizens across the country celebrated by partying around bonfires. One such bonfire was ablaze on Poplar Street when an 11-year-old girl who was standing too close became engulfed after wind-blown flames came in contact with her dress. Other people were able to extinguish the flaming clothes but the girl's face and scalp were burned.

Nov. 4, 1896: NEW YORK A post-election bonfire got out of control on East 134th Street in Manhattan. The blaze soon extended to a blacksmith shop and five other occupancies until it was brought under control.

Nov. 5, 1896: ST. LOUIS The Globe Theater was destroyed by a fast-moving fire. The stage manager was killed when he was forced to jump from a third-floor window. Flames also spread to the nearby Garner Hotel.

Nov. 6, 1896: CAMDEN, NJ Two children, ages 4 and 8, found some gunpowder and brought it home to play with. They placed the gunpowder in a stove with the intention of burning it when it suddenly exploded. Both children were seriously injured and the kitchen was soon on fire. The blaze was quickly doused but the children suffered severe burns, especially to their eyes and faces.

Nov. 7, 1896: CAMBRIDGEPORT, MA Firefighters faced a large fire in the Boston Bridge Co. building. The four-story structure was fully engulfed when a series of explosions occurred. The flames threatened the Standard Oil Works nearby but were held in check by firefighters.

Nov. 7, 1896: LONDON The Shand, Mason & Co. factory and storerooms caught fire and were badly damaged. The company, a maker of fire engines and other types of fire apparatus, lost 350 engines, two floats, 37,000 feet of hose and much valuable machinery and equipment.

Nov. 8, 1896: COLUMBUS, OH After battling a blaze in an East State Street structure, firemen were suspicious as to the cause and together with the police began to investigate the fire. After questioning, a woman and her male friend admitted to setting the fire in an attempt to collect insurance money.

Nov. 10, 1896: PERRINTON, MI A private home on a farm four miles south of town caught fire and trapped a farmer and his entire family. The farmer and his wife escaped with one of their children but three others were lost to the flames.

Nov. 10, 1896: DES MOINES, IA The Des Moines Turner Society's hall on Eighth Street burned during the afternoon. The fire began under the stage, while a class of children were exercising in the gym nearby. The flames spread so quickly it was extremely difficult to remove the children but all were taken to safety. Two firemen were severely injured when a brick chimney fell on them while they operated a hoseline.

Nov. 14, 1896: LEXINGTON, KY Nine horses of exceptional stock, including a mare that held the held the world pacing record, were destroyed by a fire of incendiary origin. The barn housing the valuable horses was quickly in ashes but a few horses were rescued by a trainer.

Nov. 15, 1896: SYRACUSE, NY Fire broke out in the Eureka Plaster Co. and quickly spread to a barn and nearby salt vats. One man was killed by the flames in the barn and firemen were hard pressed to stop the advancing blaze.

Nov. 17, 1896: MARION, IL A daytime fire destroyed an entire block of buildings, including a saddler, a general merchandise store, two saloons, a restaurant, the Parks Hotel, a livery stable and the F.S. Frye boot and shoe shop.

Nov. 20, 1896: COLD SPRING HARBOR, NY Burglars entered the Seaman and Bennett store and blew open the safe. The explosion set extra powder on fire, and the flames quickly spread to nearby flammables. As firemen and civilians responded toward the sounds of the explosion, the dazed burglars escaped the blazing building at gunpoint. Firemen stopped the flames from extending to other structures.

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