|Date(s):||February 7, 1904 to February 8, 1904|
|Location(s):||Baltimore City, Maryland|
|Tag(s):||rebuilding MD, Baltimore fire 1904 MD|
|Course:||“Novelty and Nostalgia: The Rise of Modern America, 1877 to 1945,” University of Maryland, Baltimore County|
On February 7, 1904 people watched as Baltimore city was engulfed in flames. In the aftermath of the massive urban fire, city residents and officials made important changes. Standards in fire fighting equipment were created. Emergency plans and procedures were established. The city modernized buildings, making them more fire resistant. During the fire, companies assembled from various towns and cities to help put out the flames.
The call for help began at 1:40 in the morning when Philadelphia fire Chief John Howe received word about the fire. Help had been dispatched from Washington, DC and other nearby towns, but Philadelphia was almost 200 miles away. Howe transported fire equipment by rail. Two rail cars were filled with fire horses and the other with 85 firefighters. Over 1,200 firefighters and 2,500 National Guard members would be involved in rescue or battling the flames. After providing 48 hours of aid, the city's fire crews and those from other distrcts won the admiration and respect of Baltimore politicians and citizens.
Re-building was foremost in everyone's mind after the meltdown. A lot of money was diverted from otehr public works projects to support reconstruction. In some cases, burned structures were torn down to make space for widening the streets. Underground gas-lines were rebuilt and better networks for electric cable cars were established. Businesses in downtown Baltimore were heavily impacted by the fire damage, and insurance companies did not cover the costs of all the damage done. Most covered only the estimated value of each site prior to the fire, not the cost of new construction.
Other city projects were put on hold while the burned area was rebuilt. Many city pumping stations and water cleaning plant projects were delayed. Fire officials argued that new pumping stations should be a main priority to ensure that water pressure was sufficient to extinguish future city fires.