Past deadly fires in Boston

The two firefighters killed in Wednesday’s Back Bay fire were among many who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their city. Here are some of Boston’s most notorious blazes:

James E. Taylor

Nov. 9, 1872

  • Two firefighters killed

  • The Great Fire of 1872 broke out at Summer and Kingston streets. Boston lost 776 buildings. Nearly everything from Washington Street to Boston Harbor and between Summer and State streets was ruined.

Feb. 5, 1898

  • Six firefighters killed

  • A fire at the five-story George Bent Bedding Co. on Merrimac Street caused the fifth-floor ceiling to collapse, bringing down all the floors and killing six firefighters, including a captain, a district chief, a lieutenant, and three hosemen.

Globe archive photo

Nov. 15, 1942

  • Six firefighters killed

  • Hours after a massive, early-morning blaze at South Boston’s Luongo Restaurant was believed to be under control, a massive wall tumbled down, causing the building to collapse and trapping dozens of firefighters under heavy debris for up to 18 hours. Six died.

Globe archive photo

Nov. 28, 1942

  • 492 people died

  • Flammable decor at the Cocoanut Grove night club aided a fast-moving inferno in the above-capacity club on Piedmont Street, killing 492 people. Witnesses were quoted saying that they were shocked by the speed and force of the blaze.

Dan Sheehan for the Boston Globe

Oct. 1, 1964

  • Five firefighters killed

  • As firefighters rushed to aid comrades injured in a collapse on Trumbull Street, a second collapse trapped the rescuers. Five firefighters were killed.

June 17, 1972

  • Nine firefighters killed

  • On the deadliest day in the history of the Boston Fire Department, nine firefighters were killed when a section of the Hotel Vendome collapsed on Commonwealth Avenue.

Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

Aug. 29, 2007

  • Two firefighters killed

  • Two Boston firefighters were killed and at least 12 others were injured as flames rushed through Tai Ho Mandarin and Cantonese Restaurant in West Roxbury, collapsing the roof and trapping crews inside. Boston Fire Department supervisors made a series of flawed tactical decisions at the scene, according to a report later released on the fire. Split-second actions propelled a massive fireball through the building and led to the deaths of the firefighters, according to the federal report.

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