Tragedy on the Tracks
April 2, 2017
Hartford Circus Fire
April 2, 2017

Fire destroyed much of downtown Waterbury, 1902. Connecticut Historical Society. From “What a Disaster,” Connecticut Explored, Fall 2011

February 2, 1902 was a stormy evening. A fire started in Reid & Hughes dry goods store. Though it was cold and wet outside, the building went up in flames.

The city’s fire department sprang into action. But the fire spread from building to building. The flames leapt across the street to buildings on the other side.

The fire chief and mayor called Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Torrington, Naugatuck, and Watertown for help. But the fire was too strong.  The central business district was destroyed.

Fortunately, no lives were lost and no one was injured. Crowds of visitors came from across the state to see the ruins.

Based on “What a Disaster,” by Emma DeMar and Elizabeth Normen, Connecticut Explored, Fall 2011

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