The Great Seattle Fire Essay

1087 words - 5 pages

There is still a great controversy on who really started The Great Seattle Fire of June 6, 1886. It is said that at 2:45 p.m. that day, a man named John E. Beck accidentally started a fire in the basement of a cabinet shop belonging to Jim McGough. A pot of glue boiled over on the hot stove and set some things on fire. After that, nothing has been the same; Seattle was ironically changed from a town to a city. (James K. Warren) The shop was located at Pontius Block on what is now First Avenue and Madison Street. Five workers were busy filling a stack of orders when the fire initiated. What made it horrifying was that when they tried to subdue the flames by forming a bucket brigade, ...view middle of the document...

By then, the Tacoma firemen arrived. At the date, there was no engine in Tacoma so they brought only a hose carriage and hose, which were of little use after the water pressure failed. In one of the buildings, there was a major explosion which caused the fire to grow quicker and forced inmates to run for their lives. . (James K. Warren) There was no time to save goods and not very much to save life; by 9:30 it had smothered everything there was left to burn. It stopped because of lack of material. The fire covered 116 acres, which was the most valuable part of the town. Nothing but broken walls remained of the town's business stores. (James K. Warren) The people of Tacoma played a big role in helping fellow citizens of Seattle. They provided food and supplies for the needy. Great tents for the homeless were set up the next day, and the ladies' relief organizations saw to it that no one went hungry. "The published list of losses footed up an adding machine total of $7,179,725 and adding $1,100,00 which is an estimated figure for the losses of the City of Seattle in streets, docks, etc., makes $8,279,725. There is no mention in the lists of the Water Company or the Electric Light Co. for their losses on their mains, wires, and poles in the burned district. On the strength of the value of personal effects in lodge houses and hotels, added to the foregoing figures, the total loss has been placed as high as $20,000,000, but this is out of all reason…" (Page 119-Brad Arthur) "The dawn of June 7 marked the birth of a new Seattle. With the first light, the ruin-lined streets were full of animation. The city did not give itself time to cool off. Its people were ready and anxious for the task of reconstruction." (Page 119- Brad Arthur) The people of the stricken city met in Armory Hall to plan immediate reconstruction. Mayor Robert announced and there were 600 citizens involved with...

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