IT IS NOW 7:24 PM ... 149 YEARS AGO AT THIS MOMENT...
……“The “Great Boston Fire” of November 9 and 10, 1872 ……. was discovered to be in full possession of the building at 83-85 Summer Street, at the corner of Kingston Street, and that an alarm was given on BOX 52 at Bedford and Lincoln Streets at 7:24 P.M., November 9. This was followed by additional alarms at 7:29, 7:34, 7:45, and 8:00 P.M., calling the entire working force of the department, with further alarms on BOX 123 at 8:17 P.M. and 8:24 P.M. and on BOX 48 at 10:09 P.M. Distemper had disabled many of the horses, therefore, most of the companies brought the apparatus to the fire by hand. Engine 7, the nearest company, arrived in about 1-1/2 minutes, but Engine 19 spent 1-1/2 hours coming to the fire from their quarters at Mattapan.
It having become evident that additional force was needed to subdue the conflagration, telegraphic appeals for help brought aid from many places, as far away as New Haven, CT and Manchester, NH. The fire was not stopped until it had destroyed 776 buildings and caused property losses of about 75 million dollars.
The great fire took a comparatively small toll of lives. The only members of the Boston Fire Department who lost their lives were William Farry, Foreman, and Daniel Cochrane, Assistant Foreman, both of Hook and Ladder Company 4. The total number of deaths resulting from this fire was thirteen.
At this time, the department consisted of 21 engine companies, 11 hose companies, 7 hook and ladder companies, and 3 extinguisher wagons. A self-propelled Amoskeag steam fire engine had been sent to Boston by its builders during the fire. This was purchased and assigned to Engine 21, which used it for some time, after which it was converted to be drawn by horses.”
The above is from the HISTORY OF THE BOSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT AND BOSTON FIRE ALARM SYSTEM 1859 - 1973 by William Werner, published by the Boston Fire Museum / Boston Sparks Association in 1980.