The history of firefighting in the United States is explored through the stories of 10 important fires.
Some are familiar stories, others less well-known. It begins with the largest in Colonial history, the Boston fire of 1760 that some saw as judgment from God even as they sought to make improvements in the city’s ability to respond to future blazes. The change in city skylines that occurred after the Chicago fire is discussed, and fires in Baltimore, New York and San Francisco in the early 20th century, deemed the “great urban fires,” led to important changes in regulations, building codes and firefighting techniques. Workplace tragedies such as the one that occurred at the Triangle Waist Company led to changes in laws protecting workers. The devastating loss of life in the attacks on the World Trade Center demonstrated the vulnerability of modern buildings. The volume concludes with a look at one of California’s worst wildfires. Each of the 10 incidents seems carefully chosen to provide a different angle to the history of American firefighting. Readers can chart progress and setbacks as firefighters worked to improve their techniques and communities attempted to make their buildings and environments safer.
A dramatic narrative, richly illustrated and solidly supported. (museums to visit, recommended reading, websites, source notes, glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)