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Zachary Gray seattle fire

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Chris Santos

on 8 June 2017

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Transcript of Zachary Gray seattle fire

The Great Seattle Fire
The fire started on June 6, 1889 at 2:30 in the afternoon.
In a paint and wood working Shop on First Avenue a young Swede named John E. Back inadvertently started the fire
Back had been heating glue over a gasoline fire
Unfortunately, the unusually good weather proved to be disastrous, as the dry conditions conspired with a handful of other elements to create the worst fire in city history
Due to the towns water supply being privately owned by the Spring Hill Water Company,
The water pressure soon dropped so low that no water would come out of the pipes. This led to crowds harassing the firemen who at the time were just volunteers.
The fire quickly spread engulfing anything combustible in its path
He tried to put the fire out with water, but that only served to thin the turpentine and spread the fire further.
The fire quickly spread to the Dietz & Mayer Liquor Store, which exploded.
The spring of 1889 in Seattle had been beautiful. There had been little rain, and temperatures were consistently in the 70s.
By: Zachary Gray
Sometime after 2:15, the glue boiled over, caught fire, and spread to the floors, which were covered by wood chips and turpentine
there was not enough water to stop the fire
Because of an inadequate water supply, insufficient equipment, and with hydrants located only on every other block, the fire continued to ravage Seattle for 18 hours.
During the fire however, very few lives were lost but many buildings and other places were destroyed.
Many businesses were affected and the economy took a big hit from the fire. The losses were estimated at 20 million dollars’ worth of damage. That would be valued at 533 million dollars today.
Nearby cities held fundraisers and Tacoma raised almost 25,000 dollars to aid in rebuilding. The fire also burned down the entire business district which also greatly affected the economy. However, many businesses did not decide to move, but in fact tried to rebuild on the remains.
By over a month later, 100 businesses were operating out of tents. Within a year, 465 buildings had been built, most of the reconstruction was complete and the businesses had reopened causing the economy to stabilize again
While the fire caused a great economic loss initially, it was most certainly not permanent. Within a few years, Seattle’s economy had actually improved from its situation before the fire.
The fire destroyed almost everything in downtown Seattle leaving basically nothing behind. It burned through 25 entire city blocks in about 18 hours. This noticeably affected the geographic aspects of Seattle.
This included many important buildings and the entire business district. Anything combustible had been consumed by the raging fire including wooden sidewalks which made it hard to travel through the city
In addition the courthouse would have been engulfed by the fire but quick-witted Lawrence Booth was able to save it. Booth climbed to the roof of the courthouse and armed with buckets of water, doused the sides of the building. This saved the structure as well as all the public records and the jail within.
Also the fire burned down four of the city’s wharves, all the train stations and almost all the docks. However after the fire the city was drastically changed
Streets were raised up to 22 feet in places, helping to level the hilly city. And finally, the encouragement to rebuild the city actually made the city bigger and the fire ironically changed Seattle from a town to a large, prosperous city.
The city did not take much time to mourn as there were barely any casualties from the fire so no records on the deaths were recorded. However, over 6,000 people were displaced by the fire
While there were very few casualties from the fire there were fatalities during the cleanup process
After the fire, Seattle banded together, and at 11 am on June 7, over 600 businessmen met to discuss how to cope with the current situation and plan for the future
The city then started growing and in the following year Seattle’s population actually grew by nearly 20,000 to 40,000 inhabitants from the influx of people helping recreate the city. This brought in a large variety of people with many different backgrounds.
This in turn diversified Seattle and introduced citizens to a vast number of cultures from all around. Without this Seattle would not be a diverse area with many different people of countless backgrounds and a melting pot of the multitude of cultures.
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