Same story, different chapter – The great Boston fire of 1872


"American cities were burning." – Bruce Twickler

The date was November 9, 1872. The location is Boston, Massachusetts. Fire chief Damrell was a student on fire and traveled to Chicago after the great fire. What could have gone wrong?

Watch Bruck Twickler, writer and director of Damrell's fire, discuss his views on the Great Boston Fire of 1872 and the role that John Damrell played in the conduct of the fire and beyond.

Some information

  • Building codes have not been applied.
  • Narrow streets.
  • Buildings constructed close to each other.
  • Inappropriate insurance practices and illegal behavior
  • Bad infrastructure
  • Bad communication
  • Horse disease
  • Politics and power struggles

Damrell's Fire

by The Dimes

It was like winter everywhere except Summer Street,

there the flames were everyone could see

and from the top of Beacon Hill, we saw the fire spread on Water Street

It started quickly, the flames in a shootout on a city street,

jump from roof to roof as if they were fleeing a flight

and everywhere you turned, another building burned down, now it's just debris


and everyone knows where they were the night the fire came

everyone found who they were the night the fire came and swallowed me whole

With our backs on Broad Street, the captain told us everything we needed to hold,

but the horses were lying and the engines could not go up

so the word spread along the wire, the flames rose higher in Damrell & # 39; s Fire

and everyone knows where they were on the night of the fire,

everyone found who they were the night the fire came and swallowed me whole

Forest Fire Leadership Challenge – Dig a little deeper

  • Watch the Bruce Twickler documentary Damrell's fire.
  • Consider the main characters / leaders of the story. Compare and compare their leadership styles.
  • What did Damrell learn, if any, from the great Chicago fire?
  • How could the privatization of firefighting / has it affected the public effort?
  • What is the importance of telling our story of fire?
  • How has technology helped and hindered the fire suppression effort?
  • What did Damrell do to deepen his knowledge? What has he learned and tried to apply to his sphere of influence? How have his efforts changed fire suppression efforts?
  • Are Fire Fires New to the United States?
  • How has progress contributed / does it contribute to the problem of cities / towns destroying fires?
  • How do politics and influence influence fire suppression?
  • How has learning about Damrell's construction contributed to his profession and to the time spent?