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View of the Great Conflagration at New York July 19th, 1845.
The Great Conflagration at New York on July 19th., depicts a fire that began in a sperm oil establishment in a commercial district near Broad and Stone Streets. Trouble ensued when flames spread to a building in which saltpeter (a substance used to make gunpowder) was stored, causing a massive explosion. Firefighter Francis Hart Jr. lived to describe this explosion: the “flames shooting across the street… the building falling under me.” In this print, the fire is viewed from the bowling green in lower Manhattan. Although damage was extensive – text below the image estimated a loss of property at $7 million (over $200 million today) – the fact that the fire was contained to older, wooden structures validated the importance of new fire codes and building regulations for stone and steal structures in the city.
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