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Conflagrations

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Disasters

Windscale fire

The Windscale fire of 10 October 1957 was the worst nuclear accident in Great Britain's history, ranked in severity at level 5 out of a possible 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale. The fire took place in Unit 1 of the two-pile Windscale facility on the northwest coast of England in Cumberland. The two graphite-moderated reactors, referred to at the time as "piles", had been built as part of the British post-war atomic bomb project. Windscale Pile No. 1 was operational in October 1950 followed by Pile No. 2 in June 1951.

Disasters

The Station nightclub fire

The Station nightclub fire occurred on Thursday, February 20, 2003, in West Warwick, Rhode Island, killing 100 people and injuring 230. The fire was caused by pyrotechnics set off by the tour manager of the evening's headlining band Great White, which ignited plastic foam used as sound insulation in the walls and ceilings surrounding the stage. The blaze reached flashover within one minute, causing all combustible materials to burn. Intense black smoke engulfed the club in 5½ minutes. Video footage of the fire shows its ignition, rapid growth, the billowing smoke that quickly made escape impossible, and blocked egress that further hindered evacuation. The toxic smoke, heat, and the resulting human crush toward the main exit killed 100; 230 were injured and another 132 escaped uninjured. Many of the survivors developed posttraumatic stress disorder as a result of psychological trauma.

Disasters

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911 was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city, and one of the deadliest in US history. The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers – 123 women and 23 men – who died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling or jumping to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent Italian and Jewish immigrant women aged 14 to 23; of the victims whose ages are known, the oldest victim was 43-year-old Providenza Panno, and the youngest were 14-year-olds Kate Leone and "Sara" Rosaria Maltese.

Disasters

Cocoanut Grove fire

The Cocoanut Grove Fire was a nightclub fire in the United States. The Cocoanut Grove was a premier nightclub during the post-Prohibition 1930s and 1940s in Boston, Massachusetts. On November 28, 1942, it was the scene of the deadliest nightclub fire in history, killing 492 people and injuring hundreds more. The scale of the tragedy shocked the nation and briefly replaced the events of World War II in newspaper headlines. It led to a reform of safety standards and codes across the US, and to major changes in the treatment and rehabilitation of burn victims internationally.

Disasters

Hartford circus fire

The Hartford circus fire, which occurred on July 6, 1944, in Hartford, Connecticut, was one of the worst fire disasters in the history of the United States. The fire occurred during an afternoon performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus that was attended by 6,000 to 8,000 people. The fire killed 167 people and more than 700 were injured.

Disasters

2016 Oakland warehouse fire

On December 2, 2016, at approximately 11:20 p.m. PST, a fire broke out in a warehouse, known as Ghost Ship, that had been converted into an artist collective, including dwelling units, in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland, California. At the time of the fire, the warehouse was hosting a concert featuring artists from the house music record label 100% Silk. Residential and entertainment uses were forbidden under the warehouse's permits at the time of the fire.

Disasters

King's Cross fire

On 18 November 1987, at approximately 19:30, a fire broke out at King's Cross St. Pancras tube station, a major interchange on the London Underground. As well as the mainline railway stations above ground and subsurface platforms for the Metropolitan lines, there were platforms deeper underground for the Northern, Piccadilly, and Victoria lines. The fire started under a wooden escalator serving the Piccadilly line and, at 19:45, erupted in a flashover into the underground ticket hall, killing 31 people and injuring 100.

Disasters, Transportation

Kaprun disaster

The Kaprun disaster was a fire that occurred in an ascending train in the tunnel of the Gletscherbahn Kaprun 2 funicular in Kaprun, Austria, on 11 November 2000. The disaster claimed the lives of 155 people. There were 12 survivors from the burning ascending train. Most of the victims were skiers on their way to the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier.

Disasters

Buncefield fire

The Buncefield fire was a major conflagration caused by a series of explosions on 11 December 2005 at the Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal, an oil storage facility located near the M1 motorway by Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, England. The terminal was the fifth largest oil-products storage depot in the United Kingdom, with a capacity of about 60 million imperial gallons (270 Ml) of fuel. The terminal is owned by TOTAL UK Limited (60%) and Texaco (40%).

Disasters

Yellowstone fires of 1988

The Yellowstone fires of 1988 collectively formed the largest wildfire in the recorded history of Yellowstone National Park in the United States. Starting as many smaller individual fires, the flames quickly spread out of control due to drought conditions and increasing winds, combining into one large conflagration which burned for several months. The fires almost destroyed two major visitor destinations and, on September 8, 1988, the entire park closed to all non-emergency personnel for the first time in its history. Only the arrival of cool and moist weather in the late autumn brought the fires to an end. A total of 793,880 acres (3,213 km2), or 36 percent of the park was affected by the wildfires.

Disasters

Happy Land fire

The Happy Land fire was an act of arson that killed 87 people trapped in the unlicensed Happy Land social club at 1959 Southern Boulevard in the West Farms section of the Bronx in New York City on March 25, 1990. Most of the victims were young Hondurans celebrating Carnival, many of them part of the Garifuna American community. Unemployed Cuban refugee Julio González, whose former girlfriend was employed at the club, was arrested soon afterward and ultimately convicted of arson and murder.

Disasters

Our Lady of the Angels School fire

On December 1, 1958, a fire broke out at Our Lady of the Angels School in Chicago, Illinois, shortly before classes were to be dismissed for the day. The fire originated in the basement of the school near the foot of a stairway. The elementary school was operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago and had an enrollment of approximately 1600 students. A total of 92 pupils and 3 nuns ultimately died when smoke, heat, fire, and toxic gasses cut off their normal means of escape through corridors and stairways. Many more were injured when they jumped from second-floor windows which, because the building had a raised basement, were nearly as high as a third floor would be on level ground.

Disasters

Oakland firestorm of 1991

The Oakland firestorm of 1991 was a large suburban wildland–urban interface conflagration that occurred on the hillsides of northern Oakland, California, and southeastern Berkeley over the weekend of October 19–20, 1991. The official name of this incident by Cal Fire is the Tunnel Fire. However, it is also commonly referred to as Oakland Hills firestorm or the East Bay Hills fire. The fire ultimately killed 25 people and injured 150 others. The 1,520 acres destroyed included 2,843 single-family dwellings and 437 apartment and condominium units. The economic loss has been estimated at $1.5 billion.

Disasters

2011 Slave Lake wildfire

A large wildfire burned through Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada and its surrounding area from Saturday, May 14, 2011 through Monday, May 16, 2011. The conflagration, which originated 15 kilometres (9 mi) outside of town as a forest fire, was quickly pushed past fire barriers designed to protect the town by 100 kilometres per hour (60 mph) winds. The fire forced the complete evacuation of Slave Lake's 7,000 residents—considered the largest such displacement in the province's history at the time—to the nearby towns of Athabasca and Westlock, as well as the provincial capital of Edmonton. No casualties were reported amongst the town's population, but a pilot was killed when his helicopter crashed while he was battling the fires around the community.

Disasters

Great Seattle Fire

The Great Seattle Fire was a fire that destroyed the entire central business district of Seattle, Washington, USA, on June 6, 1889. Because of the fire, the buildings in downtown Seattle now sit some 20 feet above the original street level.