#TBT From The NFPA Archive: The New Orleans Conflagration of 1908

Blog Post created by jrodowicz Employee on Aug 30, 2018

A Grand Jury investigation indicted three men on arson charges after a large conflagration in New Orleans on August 30, 1908. The vice-president, manager and one employee of the glass company in which the fire started all confessed to involvement in the act.



From the NFPA Quarterly vol.2, no.2, 1908:
The construction of the buildings in the block was very inferior, practically all of the walls being ‘party walls’ and a number of them were less than standard thickness. The floor openings were as a rule unstopped and the openings in rear and side walls generally unprotected, and where protection was provided for the openings the doors and shutters were sub-standard. An extremely poor grade of brick and mortar was found in a number of cases, causing a complete wall failure, and interior cast-iron columns failed in every case.”

The fire could have been much worse than it actually was and it was believed that the city of New Orleans “was saved from catastrophe by the great proportion of slate and metal roofs existing.”


For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Research Library & Archives.

The NFPA Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic.
Library staff are available to answer research questions from members and the general public.