Over 30 homes were damaged or destroyed by the fire, primarily on Bellflower Street; Dorset, Howell, and Boston Streets were also affected.
Here are the details via the Boston Public Library
On a warm, windy day after several weeks without rain, a resident of Bellflower Street in Dorchester noticed a fire on her neighbor’s back porch and called 911. By the time the first crew of firefighters arrived minutes later, several houses were already engulfed in flames. Within 15 minutes of the 911 call, all available Boston units were called to the scene; 10 minutes after that, a request was placed for assistance to a mutual aid network. Answering the call were 27 nearby cities and towns as well as the US Navy Yard in Charlestown and the Naval Air Station in South Weymouth, who all sent crews to help fight the five-alarm blaze. Garbage collectors working nearby also assisted residents in escaping from homes that were on fire.
It took eight hours for the fire to be completely put out. When it was over, an entire neighborhood had been destroyed, but miraculously no one was killed. The implementation of the mutual aid network and the use of a flanking technique by the crews were credited with preventing the fire from becoming even worse than it was.
Injured: 31 firefighters, 200 civilians Property Damage: Over 30 homes were damaged or destroyed, primarily on Bellflower Street; Dorset, Howell, and Boston Streets were also affected.
Cost of Damages: over $750,000 (over $6 million today) Cause: Theorized to have been caused by a glowing cigarette end or match carried on the wind to and igniting an overstuffed chair on the first-floor back porch of 26 Bellflower Street. Dry conditions and high winds allowed the fire to spread quickly from building to building. Effects: Hundreds of people were left homeless and had to be relocated. Resource sharing between jurisdictions was held up as the primary reason that the destruction of the fire was not worse.
Check out a video of the Bellflower Street Conflagration below!
Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Co-host of Caught Up, storyteller, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.