At 7 p.m., pause to remember the fire that destroyed downtown

Downtown Boston after the Great Fire of 1872

A fire that started in a downtown basement around 7 p.m. on Nov. 9, 1872, quickly spread and destroyed 776 buildings. Firefighters were hampered by the flu many of the horses that pulled fire wagons had come down with - and by the poor water pressure and bad zoning that Fire Chief John Damrell had earlier warned the city about.

Photo from the BPL 1872 fire collection posted under this Creative Commons license.

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Sadly the BRA would repeat

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Sadly the BRA would repeat this devastation some 80 years later with bulldozers and wrecking balls.

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Repeat

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this devastation by not listening to Chief Damrell by allowing developers to put up 6 unit wood condo buildings where there used to be a triple decker.
ps: sprinkler systems will not help in a conflagration.

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Actually they would and those

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Actually they would and those 6 unit buildings are far more fireproof by today's code than your typical triple decker wrapped in highly flammable vinyl siding.

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No they won't help

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And you are a fool if you believe that sprinklers wouldn't allow this to happen again. Sprinklers are located on the interior of structures. A fire on the outside would quickly engulf any structure in the vicinity (ask anyone who lost a sprinklered house in a wildfire).
Weren't the Twin Towers sprinklered?
The BRA and Zoning board allows construction of buildings with approved variances, that otherwise would not be allowed with the density and heights that would be dangerous in a conflagration.

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Question

This used to happen every ten or twenty years in Boston.

Yet, we have very few instances of sweeping fires since triple-deckers were constructed.

(Chelsea fire was mostly industrial area)

Explain how it was all "repeated" when it hasn't happened?

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"And you are a fool if you

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"And you are a fool if you believe that sprinklers wouldn't allow this to happen again. Sprinklers are located on the interior of structures. A fire on the outside would quickly engulf any structure in the vicinity"

The building code required the exterior cladding of a building to be at least a 1 hour rated assembly. A fire will not spread quickly with that type of construction. Why do you think fires in new and renovated construction have been becoming less frequent and less severe every single decade?

(ask anyone who lost a sprinklered house in a wildfire)."

Wildfires involve temperatures in excess of several hundred degrees and wind driven fire. Short of having a natural gas fireball blasting like a jet on the new six family houses this isn't going to be an issue in a city.

"Weren't the Twin Towers sprinklered?"

A few thousand gallons of jet fuel will eventually generate enough heat to destroy anything if not supressed. The sprinkler systems in the WTC towers were severely compromised by the impact of the planes. The piping system and pumps were not able to function as intended. They weren't designed in the first place to deal with a fire burning at the intensity generate by a massive pool of jet fuel.

"The BRA and Zoning board allows construction of buildings with approved variances, that otherwise would not be allowed with the density and heights that would be dangerous in a conflagration."

Most of the city's zoning was approved in the 1920s and amended since. The fire department reviews plans but has had little say in the height or density of structures due to recommendations by national code councils. The National Fire Protection Association and International Building Code (written by the International Code Council) have extensively studied such matters in relationship to modern construction types. The BRA/ZB/state fire marshal follow the guidelines suggested by those national code bodies with limited amendments. Like the AASHTO, MUTCD, UL's listings, etc. those national code bodies do all the testing and represent legally defensible standards which virtually every governmental body follows to avoid lawsuits.

I sincerely hope you aren't a real fire marshal.

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There is a wayside panel

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There is a wayside panel along the harborwalk behind the Atlantic Wharf building (on what used to be Russia Wharf) about the fire.

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How Did Boston Recover and Rebuild?

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Would make an interesting masters thesis for a student in urban planning on how to restructure a city after a major disaster.

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