We often hear about fires in the news. A house may be burning in the neighborhood, an apartment complex may be burning in town, and just recently, the whole Southern part of a country may be on fire.
Fire is considered to be a double-edged sword by many. The discovery of fire of early humans unlocked a lot of our potential to thrive as a species. The controlled use of fire allowed humans to cook off their meat instead of eating it raw — this allowed for more palatable and safer meat. Fire also gave a social environment by providing a beacon flight where early men gathered around together. (1)
However, uncontrolled fire, on the other hand, provided great danger to early humans, even humans of today. In fact, according to a study by multinational experts, “There is a trend of increasing frequency and intensity of uncontrolled fires adversely affecting biodiversity, ecological systems, human wellbeing and livelihood, and national economies.” (2)
With that being said here are 5 of the most famous fires that burned within the century. This list includes a good mixture of di test fires, wildfires, infrastructure fires, and residential fires.
1. South Australian wildfire of 2020
The southern parts of Australia are currently being ravaged by the worst wildfires that the decade has seen. These fires started in the first season of late July but have gotten significantly worst by the start of the new decade.
All states of Australia have experienced wildfires but the worst state hit is New South Wales (NSW), located in the south of the country. The State and federal authorities are fun bringing it difficult to contain the massive flames, despite having assistance from the United States.
28 people have died and 3,000 homes have been ravaged in the state alone. Moreover. It has spread to wildlife sanctuaries and has claimed the lives of animals native to the country. (3)
2. Notre-Dame Paris Fire of the 2019
Just last April 15, 2019, a massive fire scourged the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. The Notre-Dame is one of the well-known landmarks of the city and serves as the setting of the Disney movie The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. (4)
The fire is said to be caused by the ongoing renovation that started after cracks appeared in the infrastructure. The renovation was supposed to curb fear and doubt that the cathedral was unstable. (4)
French President Emmanuel Macron reached out to the Parisians to “rebuild the cathedral together.” International donations for the restoration of the burned 850-year old Parish church were also opened. (5)
The Notre-Dame Cathedral successfully held its first mass after the fire on June 15, 2019. This mass was televised. (6)
3. Station Nightclub Fire of 2003
This tragedy occurred on the fateful night of February 20, 2003 at Station Nightclub. The fatalities came up to a hundred, including the guitarist of the band performing that night, Great White’s Ty Longley, with 230 people being injured. (7)
The fire is said to be caused by the pyrotechnics set off by Great White’s tour manager. The pyrotechnics flammable acoustic foam and caused all combustible materials to burn. The nightclub was destroyed within 5 and a half minutes. This serves as the 4th worst nightclub fire in US history and is 2nd in the state of New England. (7)
4. Jilin Baoyuanfeng Poultry Plant Fire of 2013
The Jilin Baoyuanfeng Plant Fire occurred on June 3, 2013, at the Jilin Baoyuanfeng poultry processing plant. It was located in Mishazi, a town in Northeast China, in the province of Jilin, some 35 kilometers away from Changchun, Jilin. (8)
The fire killed at least 120 people, most of whom were workers in the processing plant, and injured 60 others. (8)
The processing plant was quite well known in the country and was one of the Top 100 Agricultural Companies in China. It also held the label of “leading enterprise” given by the provincial capital of Changchun in 2010 and 2011. (8)
The fire is said to come from three large explosions in succession and a fiee that ensued right after. (8)
5. Fa Yuen Street Fire of 2011
The 2011 Fa Yuen Street Fire occurred in Fa Yuen Street, in Mongkok, Hong Kong on the 30th of November, 2011. The area of Fa Yuen that was ravaged by the fire is the most densely populated within the street, claiming the lives of 9 and injuring 34. 118 people were left homeless after the fire. (9)
The fire occurred during the Hong Kong Fire Service Department’s 48-hour protest but 44 fire appliances and 210 firefighters were sent to contain the fire. (9)
Two suspects were wanted by the police. Of which, the fire was blamed on street-level hawkers and their illegal and improper storage of goods in stairwells and blocking exits. (9)
Those were five of the most famous fires that burned within the 21st century. Now that we are aware of how devastating fires can be through example, we can now learn how to prevent these fires from ruining our homes.