Battlefield America

USA Urban Fires
(no other countries)
I don't think the below list of "Fires" could be called a "surface scratch," for it's not even close. What am I talking about here? Take the below list and apply it to the entire United States territory. You will simply have to change a city/town name. Here is an example for you. Just click on this link. The photographs you will see belong to the 1904 Urban Fire in the city Baltimore. Now spread this devastation throughout the entire U.S. of A. territory.

the Great Baltimore Fire in 1904-1.jpg

I called this article a "Battlefield America", because after all the photographs I've seen, and bogus stories I've read, this is the impression I get. Yet, the entire issue is being downplayed beyond belief. The issue does not stop with the United States, but this tiny article is limited to the US only .
  • If you choose to google some of the below fires, you will find quite a few "entertaining" stories, accompanied by some horrific photographs. The story writers can be creative beyond belief. You will see that some of the lines are present in (just about) every single fire description. You will be wondering why for 150 years some cities had hard time figuring out, that wood has a tendency to burn. In most of those photographs you will be like, "Where are those buildings made of wood? All I can see is brick."
If you run into an Urban Fire not mentioned in the list below, please do not hesitate to share it with us. As well, feel free to post photographs from the below 101 fires. Please provide some accompanying comments if you do.

Ultimately, all of us would like to know, what could have caused the devastation. Don't hesitate to step forward with your opinion.

101 U. S. "Urban Fires"


  1. 03.20.1760 - Boston, MA Fire
  2. 09.20.1776 - New York, NY Fire
  3. 04.20.1787 - Boston, MA Fire
  4. 03.21.1788 - New Orleans, LA Fire
  5. 12.08.1794 - New Orleans, LA Fire
  6. 11.26.1796 - Savannah, GA - Fire
  7. 12.26.1802 - Portsmouth, NH Fire
  8. 06.11.1805 - Detroit, MI Fire
  9. 12.24.1806 - Portsmouth, NH Fire
  10. 12.22.1813 - Portsmouth, NH Fire
  11. 08.24.1814 - Washington D.C. Fire
  12. 07.16.1815 - Petersburg, VA Fire
  13. 05.26.1817 - Sag Harbor, NY Fire
  14. 01.11.1820 - Savannah, GA Fire
  15. 01.18.1827 - Alexandria, VA Fire
  16. 05.29.1831 - Fayetteville, NC Fire
  17. 12.16.1835 - New York, NY Fire
  18. 04.27.1838 - Charleston, SC Fire
  19. 10.02.1839 - Mobile, AL Fire
  20. 03.27.1840 - Louisville, KY Fire
  21. 04.03.1843 - Fall River, MA Fire
  22. 05.25.1843 - Tallahassee, FL Fire
  23. 04.10.1845 - Pittsburgh, PA Fire
  24. 05.26.1845 - Sag Harbor, NY Fire
  25. 07.19.1845 - New York, NY Fire
  26. 11.14.1845 - Sag Harbor, NY Fire
  27. 12.12.1845 - Bridgeport, CT Fire
  28. 06.13.1846 - Nantucket, MA Fire
  29. 04.11.1848 - Medina, OH Fire
  30. 08.17.1848 - Albany, NY Fire
  31. 05.17.1849 - St. Louis, MO Fire
  32. 11.24.1849 - Baton Rouge, LA - Fire
  33. 12.24.1849 - San Francisco, CA - Fire
  34. 04.04.1850 - San Francisco, CA - Fire
  35. 04.09.1850 - Philadelphia, PA Fire
  36. 05.03.1851 - San Francisco, CA Fire
  37. 06.09.1853 - Oswego, NY Fire
  38. 06.06.1856 - Philadelphia, PA Fire
  39. 03.10.1859 - Houston, TX Fire
  40. 11.15.1864 - Atlanta, GA Fire
  41. 06.08.1860 - Dallas, TX Fire
  42. 12.11.1861 - Charleston, SC Fire
  43. 05.10.1862 - Troy, NY Fire
  44. 04.19.1863 - Denver, CO Fire
  45. 02.08.1865 - Philadelphia, PA Fire
  46. 02.17.1865 - Columbia, SC Fire
  47. 04.03.1865 - Richmond, VA Fire
  48. 07.04.1866 - Portland, ME Fire
  49. 04.14.1870 - Medina, OH Fire
  50. 10.08.1871 - Port Huron, MI Fire
  51. 10.08.1871 - White Rock, MI Fire
  52. 10.08.1871 - Holland, MI Fire
  53. 10.08.1871 - Manistee, MI Fire
  54. 10.08.1871 - Alpena, MI Fire
  55. 10.08.1871 - Chicago, IL Fire
  56. 10.08.1871 - Peshtigo, WI Fire
  57. 10.09.1871 - Urbana, Oh Fire
  58. 11.09.1872 - Boston, MA Fire
  59. 08.02.1873 - Portland, WA Fire
  60. 06.14.1874 - Chicago, IL Fire
  61. 10.26.1875 - Virginia City, NV Fire
  62. 08.31.1877 - Paris, TX Fire
  63. 03.23.1876 - Fernandina Beach, FL Fire
  64. 04.13.1878 - Clarksville, TN Fire
  65. 11.08.1878 - Cape May, NJ Fire
  66. 03.02.1879 - Reno, NV Fire
  67. 06.07.1881 - Cincinnati, OH Fire
  68. 09.05.1881 - Thumb,MI Fire
  69. 02.18.1882 - Haverhill, MA Fire
  70. 08.11.1883 - Vineyard Haven, MA Fire
  71. 11.13.1885 - Galveston, TX Fire
  72. 04.01.1886 - Key West, FL Fire
  73. 05.20.1887 - Cannon Falls, MN Fire
  74. 09.20.1887 - Sanford, FL Fire
  75. 04.07.1889 - Bakersfield, CA Fire
  76. 06.06.1889 - Seattle, WA Fire
  77. 07.04.1889 - Ellensburg, WA Fire
  78. 07.07.1889 - Great Bakersfield, CA Fire
  79. 08.04.1889 - Spokane, WA Fire
  80. 11.26.1889 - Great Lynn, MA Fire
  81. 03.14.1891 - Syracuse, NY Fire
  82. 10.28.1892 - Milwaukee, WI Fire
  83. 06.07.1893 - Fargo, ND Fire
  84. 08.14.1893 - Minneapolis, MN Fire
  85. 09.01.1894 - Hinckley, MN Fire
  86. 10.21.1895 - New Orleans, LA Fire
  87. 04.27.1896 - Paris, TX Fire
  88. 09.12.1896 - Ontonagon, MI Fire
  89. 04.08.1897 - Knoxville, TN Fire
  90. 06.20.1898 - Park City, UT Fire
  91. 05.03.1901 - Jacksonville, FL Fire
  92. 02.08.1904 - Baltimore, MD Fire
  93. 04.18.1906 - San Francisco, CA Fire and Earthquake
  94. 03.01.1908 - Ybor City, FL Fire
  95. 04.30.1911 - Bangor, ME Fire
  96. 06.25.1914 - Salem, MA Fire
  97. 03.21.1916 - Paris, TX Fire
  98. 03.22.1916 - Augusta, GA Fire
  99. 10.10.1918 - Cloquet, MN Fire
  100. 12.01.1922 - New Berm, NC Fire
  101. 02.02.1928 - Fall River, MA Fire
IMPORTANT: Please keep this comments section limited to the US fires only. There are way to many of these "fires" out there, to crunch the entire world into one place. At some point I will create separate articles for a few additional countries/regions.


KD: The questions remains the same - what was the real cause of the damages, and why the truth is being hidden from us?
 

Wolfsauge

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Dear admin, please help me to sort/move this reply to a proper place, if it seems relevant. Thanks!

It does not fit under this post, because it has not happened in the USA, it happened many years later than the last great fire mentioned in the original post and it happened during a war.


I am perceiving some similarities when comparing the original sources given in Wikipedia and actual scientific resources about the event and the place it occured: the city of Changsha has been one of the oldest cities in China, until in 1938 in a great fire 90% of its buildings burnt down, without any belligerent forces being close, obliterating irrecovably incomparable sites and artifacts of the past, killing lots of people, just to become a major place of settlement right after the event.

I want to begin with a report of a witness:
The American missionary doctor who worked in Changsha at the Yale-in-China Hospital, Phil Greene, wrote that when 40,000 refugees, numerous KMT generals, and then the Generalissimo descended on the Hunan capital, chaos and panic spread:
October 26: the arsenal behind the Hospital blew up just one big bang and the whole place was gone—about one hundred casualties, thirty dead. At the Hospital we just kept ahead of the patients. It took as long to dig them out as it did to fix them up.
October 28: 21,000 wounded [from Wuhan] reported in town . . .
October 29: The town is moving out fast, the doctors are sticking by . . .
November 1: People expect Changsha to fall in two weeks the Gov- ernment has given us five good junks which will take about 200 tons of hospital supplies to Yuanling ...
[Some days later]: the entire town [is] leaving by boat, train, buses, rickshaws and wheelbarrows after prayer meeting, some friends told us of having seen oil and cotton waste distributed to ward officials for setting fires. So many rumors ...
November 11: only a small fraction of the city’s half million population [remain]. I am the only doctor left [at the mission] . . .
[November 12]: uncanny stillness . . . a deserted, evidently doomed city.
(Taylor, Jay. The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-Shek and the Struggle for Modern China. Harvard University Press, 2009. JSTOR, p. 159)
Then, fire starts on November 13.
"The Changsha fire of 1938 (Chinese: 长沙大火), also known as Wenxi fire (Chinese: 文夕大火), was the greatest human-caused citywide fire in Chinese history. [..] The result of this fire made Changsha one of the most damaged cities during World War II, alongside Stalingrad, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Dresden and others. (Wikipedia: 1938 Changsha fire)
More than 30,000 people lost their lives during the fire. Over 90%, or 56,000, of the city's buildings were burned. The fire also disabled commercial trading, academic institutions and government organizations throughout the city. (Wikipedia: 1938 Changsha fire)
Before the fire, Changsha was one of China's few major cities that had not moved its site in 2,000 years. The fire, however, annihilated all the cultural accumulations that the city retained since the Spring and Autumn period. (Wikipedia: 1938 Changsha fire, Wikipedia does not have a source for this, it corresponds to the Donald B. Wagner, Acta Orientalis source, which I quoted further down)
What are the similarities?

The "chatoyant" figure named Generalissimo, was Chiang Kai-shek, who is considered being involved in the fire events destroying Changsha, minor inconsistencies ahead.
Chiang Kai-shek (31 October 1887 – 5 April 1975), also known as Chiang Chung-cheng and romanized via Mandarin as Chiang Chieh-shih and Jiang Jieshi, was a Chinese Nationalist politician, revolutionary and military leader who served as the leader of the Republic of China from 1928 until his death in 1975, first in mainland China until 1949 and then in Taiwan. (Wikipedia: Chaing Kai-shek)
One the one hand, it is said he talked about the idea of burning the city of Changsha.
Chiang ordered the destruction of any usable facilities or plants that remained in the city, and the garrison forces and remaining government personnel then withdrew in good order. (Taylor, Jay. The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-Shek and the Struggle for Modern China. Harvard University Press, 2009. JSTOR, p. 158)
On the other hand, he also denied having ordered the arson of Changsha.
Perhaps Chiang ordered the deed, but he had not before called for such a total destruction of a city about to be lost nor did he afterward. On Monday (November 14), the governor issued an apology, saying he had not ordered the arson. (Taylor, Jay. The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-Shek and the Struggle for Modern China. Harvard University Press, 2009. JSTOR, p. 160)
A third version is found in Wikipedia:
Due to an organizational error (it was claimed), the fire was begun without any warning to the residents of the city. The Nationalists eventually blamed three local commanders for the fire and executed them. (Wikipedia Chiang Kai-shek, paragraph on the sino-japanese war)
Anyway, some important possible witnesses were "found dead". Have they been left to be found?
On November 16 Chiang arrived to investigate, and the missionaries soon learned that the garrison commander, the regimental commander, and the chief of police had been shot. (Taylor, Jay. The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-Shek and the Struggle for Modern China. Harvard University Press, 2009. JSTOR, p. 160)
In the aftermath, also some high official in that region is said to have resigned (see the same sources), but we already heard enough, didn't we?

Now a bit more about Changsha itself:
Until very recently nearly everything that was known archaeologically of the ancient Chinese state of Chu came from excavations in the vicinity of Changsha, Hunan. Some 2000 Chu graves have been excavated here. A chronology for these graves which is widely but not universally accepted places about 100 of them in the Spring and Autumn period: this dating implies that some twenty iron artefacts found in the graves are to be dated to ca. 500 B.C. or before. These would then be among the earliest iron artefacts. (other than meteoritic iron) yet found in China. (“The dating of the Chu graves of Changsha: The earliest iron artifacts in China?”, Acta Orientalia, 1987, 48: 111-156. Link)
From the same source:
Antiquities from the ancient graves of Changsha have since the 1930s been bought by collectors at high prices, and grave-robbery has often been a lucrative sideline for the people of the area. Changsha pottery, for example, is a standard category in the art trade; it can be recognised by characteristic stains from the heavy red clay soil of the region.

This doesn't make any sense to me.

I finally had enough when I read this:
The next day, Greene received a letter from Madame Chiang, who had been his wife’s classmate at Wellesley, declaring that the Generalissimo also was not responsible. (Taylor, Jay. The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-Shek and the Struggle for Modern China. Harvard University Press, 2009. JSTOR, p. 160)
So I guess Mr Greene was not a woman, however, this:
Wellesley college is a private women's liberal arts college in Wellesley, Massachusetts, United States. Founded in 1870. [..] Admissions is exclusively restricted to women [..] (Wikipedia: Wellesley College)

Summary:
It is comprehensible when false intel motivates a military leader to take action, like evacuating civilians from dangerous areas, agreed. It does not motivate to burn the city itself to the ground, unless this destruction is part of the actual agenda or the actual agenda itself.

This is especially not comprehensible, when the city is to be considered a place of major cultural heritage - not even thinking about the order of magnitude we're talking about here - in the case of Changsha.

I need to close here, because otherwise it's getting too long. About such a possible agenda, a quick read about the Siku Quanshu can help, like the following paragraphs:
Additionally some well known traditions about the same are also described in this article:
Question: Could Changsha be the subject of file and claw the 322 way cooperating with local interests to hide the true history by simply destroying historic sites and artifacts?

Edit: typos
 
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