In 1666, a disastrous fire swept through London which destroyed thousands of houses, many churches and two cathedrals. But how did the fire start and who was responsible?
The first thing we should know is London was different back in the 15th century: the streets were crowded, full of people and animals; houses and buildings were so close that they were touching each other. There were no policies and regulations on how to build constructions. As a result, the fire could break and spread more easily. In addition, fire brigades did not exist in England back then and there were a lot of flammable materials in the streets like hay and straw. That summer of 1666 was particularly hot and dry; water was scarce and the buildings were dried out which was a hotbed for a disaster – literally.
The fire started on September 2 in a baker’s shop which belonged to Thomas Farynow. He claimed that he had put out the fire but a few hours later his house was burning. The locals did not take it seriously enough because the fire was a common phenomenon back then but the strong winds helped the fire to spread: from Pudding Lane it expanded towards the Thames, reaching a warehouse that sold flammable oils, making the situation worse.
The only luck was that the fire could not spread to the other side of the river because the bridge which connected the two parts of London had already been by another fire earlier.
The people in London were panicking. An inhabitant, named Samuel Pepys suggested pulling down the buildings that could prevent the fire from spreading to the king. The idea seemed good but unfortunately, it did not work. The people tried to save their most treasured possessions.
Samuel did not give it up, however. He turned to the navy and this time, his new idea was to blow up those buildings which were in the way of the fire. The navy gave it a try and used gunpowder to blow up those buildings. The attempt eventually turned out to be successful and they could take the fire under control.
Small fires still broke out but they were also put out later. The ground in the area was so hot after the fire that it was impossible to walk there. After some time, London was rebuilt and the first fire brigade was founded in case similar disasters occur.
disastrous – katasztrófális
regulation on something – előírás valamivel kapcsolatban
construction – építmény
fire brigade – tűzoltó
flammable – gyúlékony
phenomenon – jelenség
belong to – tartozik valakihez
spread – terjed
pull down – lerombol
treasured possession – legféltettebb kincs
gunpowder – puskapor
attempt – kísérlet
break out – kitör
occur – előfordul