, Salem, MA

Local News

March 26, 2014

City kicks off 100th anniversary of Great Salem Fire

Blaze flattened city, leaving thousands homeless


The city is planning to host a display of antique firefighting apparatus on June 22. Pieces on display are scheduled to include the Seaside 2, a steam-driven engine actually used by Manchester-by-the-Sea firefighters during the blaze.

On June 25, city officials will commemorate the fire’s 100th anniversary with a public ceremony at the corner of Boston and Bridge streets at 1 p.m. Later that day, they’ll host a second ceremony at Lafayette Park in recognition of firefighters who battled the blaze and rededicate the 1915 plaque memorializing it. Chiefs from all of the departments that sent firefighters will be invited to attend.

Other possible events are in the works, including walking tours of areas where the fire struck. Several organizations have expressed interest in conducting them, including the North Shore Community Development Coalition, Fox said.

Also, author Nelson Dionne is planning to host a signing for his new book about the fire, and he could deliver a presentation on the fire and how fire laws have changed in the past century.

“It’s such a significant event, and it really changed the way people respond to disasters,” Fox said. “There’s a lot of ... things to learn from what happened 100 years ago in Salem.”

Tomorrow’s lecture will take place downtown at the Salem Visitor Center at 2 New Liberty St. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the presentation will begin a half-hour later. The event is free, but people are encouraged to register ahead of time by emailing

Further information on events commemorating the fire can be found at The website will soon host a map showing modern Salem overlaid with the fire zones.

Neil H. Dempsey can be reached at

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