1904 Baltimore Fire: 80 Blocks Burned And Lessons Learned

Men hurry on the street as they work to demolish buildings during the Baltimore fire, 1904. The leveling of the buildings by dynamite was a desperate attempt to arrest the spread of the fire. (Photo by Herbert French/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

Chicago doesn't have a monopoly on destructive, city-wide fires. On February 7, 1904, one such fire swept through 80 blocks of Baltimore, Maryland, leveling more than 1,500 buildings and damaging an additional 1,000 structures. Only the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 was more destructive, but out of the ashes of the 1904 Baltimore Fire came some much-needed and potentially life-saving changes in how we fight fires. Let's look at the 1904 Baltimore Fire, its causes, the damage, and the improvements that came from this event.