|San Francisco burns, 1906|
On the morning of April 18, 1906, at 5:25 am, there was a small quake that was felt throughout all of the Bay area. About 25 seconds later, an estimated 8.3 earthquake struck the city, with devastating affect. Buildings crumbled, streets tore open like gaping mouths, and cries filled the air.
The fire department was ill-equipped to fight the blaze. A few firemen fought with knapsacks, brooms, and a fraction of water from an operating hydrant at 20th and Church. But it wasn't enough. The fire continued to spread over the next four days. On 395 Hayes Street, the "Ham and Egg" fire would break out, destroying part of the Western Addition, the Mechanics' Pavilion, and City Hall. It then jumped to Market Street where the Winchester Hotel caught fire and collapsed.
|Market Street as it burned|
|The city in ruin|
Here is incredible footage of the aftermath of the fire, from The Library of Congress. If you can't view the video on your device, click here.