Wednesday, December 16, 1835 was a bitterly cold day, known as ”cold Wednesday”. Hanover, NH only reached a high temperature of - 17 degrees. It was -12 degrees at Boston by sunset. But it was in New York City that the cold did it’s most damage. It was so cold that the East River was frozen: Fire fighter couldn’t access the water, The Great NYC Fire of 1835 leveled 17 blocks that night, including Wall Street. The fire began on the evening of December 16, 1835, in a five-story warehouse at 25 Merchant Street, now known as Beaver Street at the intersection of Hanover Square and Wall Street. As it spread, gale-forces winds blowing from the northwest toward the East Rivers the spread the fire. The conflagration was visible from Philadelphia, approximately 80 miles away. At the time of the fire, major water sources including the East River and the Hudson Rover were frozen in temperatures as low as −17 °F . Firefighters were forced to drill holes through ice to access water, which later re-froze around the hoses and pipes. Attempts were made to deprive the fire of fuel by demolishing surrounding buildings, but at first there was insufficient gunpowder in Manhattan. Later in the evening, a detachment of U. S. Marines and sailors returned at 3 o'clock in the morning, with gunpowder from the Brooklyn Navy Yard and began to blow up buildings in the fire's path. An investigation found that a burst gas pipe, ignited by a coal stove, was the initial source; no blame was assigned.
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