‘Like an atomic bomb had gone off’: The summer night St. John’s burned down

The harbour in St. John’s, Nfld., is seen on Friday, Aug. 10, 2007. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

By Sue Bailey, The Canadian Press, July 7, 2017 

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — It was a blazing tornado that ripped through homes and buildings in St. John’s, N.L., torching everything it crossed as residents ran for safe ground with all they could carry.

The city will this weekend mark 125 years since “The Great Fire” on July 8, 1892, incinerated Newfoundland’s commercial hub and left about 11,000 people homeless.

The actual cause was never confirmed. It was blamed on a dropped tobacco pipe or match in a stable on Carter’s Hill overlooking the harbour and city centre. By the time it burned out 12 hours later, 2,000 houses and dozens of businesses were in smoking ruins.

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