Crucible of Fire: Nineteenth-Century Urban Fires and the Making of the Modern Fire Service

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 6/1/2011
  • Publisher: Univ of Nebraska Pr

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Urban conflagrations, such as the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 and the Great Boston Fire of 1872, terrorized the citizens of nineteenth-century American cities, although rebirth in the aftermath offered a chance to shape the future.Ultimately, urban dwellers and planners created sweeping changes in the methods of constructing buildings, planning city streets, engineering water distribution systems, underwriting fire insurance, and firefighting itself.The practical knowledge gained from fighting nineteenth-century fires gave form and function to modern fire protection efforts.Changes in materials and building design resulted directly from tragedies such as fires in fireproof hotels. Thousands of buildings burned,millions of dollars were lost, the fire insurance industry faltered, and a tradition of volunteerism died out before municipal authorities accepted the necessary changes.The great fires formed a crucible of learning for firefighters, engineers, architects, and underwriters. Bruce Hensler shows how the modern American fire service today is a direct result of the lessons of history.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vi
Abbreviationsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
The Context of the Modern Fire Servicep. 11
Origins of Organized Fire Servicep. 13
Firefighter Culturep. 24
Contemporary Firefightingp. 36
The Fire Problem Definedp. 45
Great Fire in Pittsburghp. 47
Fire in the Built Environmentp. 54
Fire and Human Behaviorp. 57
Fire in Rural Areas and Wildlandsp. 63
The Fire Service under Firep. 69
Transformative Forces to Make Firefighting Saferp. 71
Cultural Change Needed to Improve Firefighter Safetyp. 78
Transitional Forces Create New Fire Service Modelp. 86
Learning to Fight Great Urban Firesp. 99
London and the Development of a Fire Servicep. 101
Portland and the Board of Fire Underwritersp. 110
Boston and the Standardization of Fire Protectionp. 117
Learning to Control Building Firesp. 135
Fire Protection in Theoryp. 137
Deadly Fire in a Fireproof Hotelp. 144
Firefighting, Building Codes, and Technologyp. 152
Firefighters, Engineers, and Underwritersp. 161
New England Mills and the Factory Mutual Systemp. 163
Fighting Fires: From Art to Sciencep. 172
Volunteers to Paid Firemenp. 179
Legacy of the Combustible Cityp. 185
Notesp. 199
Bibliographyp. 212
Indexp. 221
About the Authorp. 231
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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