Great Fire of Toronto (1904)
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|History of Toronto|
The fire was first spotted at 8:04 p.m., on 9 April, 1904, by a Toronto Police constable on his regular street patrol. The flames were rising from the elevator shaft of the Currie neck wear factory at 58 Wellington Street West, just west of Bay Street (now TD Bank Tower). The factory was situated in the centre of a large industrial and commercial area. The exact cause of the fire was never determined, but a faulty heating stove or an electrical problem is suspected.
The fire took nine-hours to get under control. The glow of the fire could be seen for kilometres in all directions. Firefighters from cities as far away as Hamilton, Ontario and Buffalo (a long term friendship was established between the Queen City of New York and the Queen City of Canada, given their nicknames) came to Toronto's aid. The temperature that night was approximately -4 degrees Celsius with winds at 48 kilometres per hour with snow flurries.
The fire destroyed 104 buildings, and claimed one victim; John Croft. Croft Street is a lane-way between Borden and Lippincott Street (near Bathurst and Harbord Streets) was named in his honour. It caused $10,350,000 in damage and put five thousand people out of work, at a time when the city only had 200,000 inhabitants. As a result of the fire, more stringent safety laws were introduced and an expansion of the city's fire department was undertaken.
It was the largest fire ever in the city, although a previous large fire had consumed many city blocks on April 7, 1849 when the city was much smaller and constructed mostly with wood.
Even 17 fire halls, two engine companies and one hose company proved to be no match.
Toronto Fire's Public Education Centre and Museum at Station 233 has model displaying the area of the fire.
- Lasiuk, Jon; Friebe, Marla (2003). A History of the Toronto Fire Services 1874-2002. Toronto: Toronto Fire Department. ISBN 978-0-9737066-0-4.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Toronto Fire of 1904.|
- Toronto Fire Services
- Buffalo Fire Department
- List of historic Toronto fire stations
- List of historic fires
- Great Fire of London – 1666
- Great Fire of Pittsburgh - 1845
- Great Fire of Toronto (1849)
- Silent footage of a wagon responding to the alarm, buildings on fire, and demolition of damaged buildings
- Pictures of the fire's aftermath from the City of Toronto Archives site
- The Great Toronto Fire, the Archives of Ontario remembers this significant event in the city's history
- Croft Street, Toronto