Fire at the Expo

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One hundred years ago, on the night of August 14th-15th, 1910, fire broke out at the International Exposition in Brussels, Belgium. Soon it was out of control despite the best efforts of the Belgian firemen.

It destroyed the central area of the exposition, but left untouched many of the industrial halls and machinery halls, and much of the amusement areas.

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The government claimed that nobody was injuried except for some exhibit animals (such as crocodiles) which were killed by the blaze... but some people wondered how far the coverup went.

The postcard publisher Valentine combined night photos of the fire and matched them up with their daytime photos to produce composite views. They left in some of the Expo visitors as if nothing was happening! :blink: Here are a couple of examples.

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Posted · Report post

How many other world's fairs have had structures destroyed by fire? I know one of Expo 92's theme pavilions (I think it was the Pavilion of Discovery) suffered a major fire just as construction was wrapping up and never opened. The South Pacific Pavilion at the same fair was destroyed by fire during construction but was quickly rebuilt before opening date. I believe the California Pavilion was severely damaged by fire during the 1940 season of the Golden Gate International Exposition. The China Pavilion at Expo 67 suffered a fire in the restaurant kitchen that had the building closed for several weeks.

Both the former US Pavilion at Expo 67 and the Crystal Palace from the 1851 London Exhibition suffered devastating fires but after the fairs had closed.

Any additions to the list?

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Posted · Report post

I saw some pictures on the NYPL website of a fire at the '39 NYWF, but details were sparse.

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Posted · Report post

Fires at the World's Columbian Exposition, from

http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h2286.html

Four fires occurred during the Fair. The first hit on July 10, 1893, when the Cold Storage Building burned, killing 17 people. The second fire, on January 8, 1894, burned the Casino, Peristyle, Music Hall, and Manufactures Building. The third fire the following month burned the Colonnade. The last fire was a massive one on July 5, 1894, that burned the Court of Honor, Machinery Hall, as well as the Electricity, Administration, Mining, and Manufactures buildings.

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Posted · Report post

Here's the China Pavilion at Expo 67 after the fire:

china-after-fire.jpg

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Posted · Report post

Hi,

Well, I know the New York World's Fair of 1939 had many fires. There was a fire in the Glass Building close to opening day, there was a fire in the LIRR during construction, same for some buildings by the parkway or alongside the RR, there was at least one fire in Ballantine's during the Fair in 1939...maybe more. That is just first season. I have photographs of the LIRR fire and the Ballantine's fire and the other buildings - but not the Glass Building. Attached is the LIRR right after the fire was put out and a slide of it in 1940 - the "other buildings" 1938 image is much more dramatic with billowing smoke and all - but it is also very misplaced in some envelope somewhere.

Best wishes,

Eric

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Posted · Report post

What a fascinating thread this turned out to be. Thanks for starting it, Randy!

I know this pic has been posted before in other Expo 67 threads-- but I thought since it's literally a "fireball" it had to be included here as well.

pYleFrsZDq7bmfr8VxyDUE25o1_500.jpg

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Posted · Report post

Hmm... coincidentally, my HEART would be a "fireball" every time, I "gazed into your starry eyes," so to speak, or conversely, if you would be my "Venus of the stars" Funny how that works out!

Billy Joel naturally denies having started said blaze: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Didn't_Start_the_Fire

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