Calendar
Jan January
Feb February
Mar March
Apr April
May May
Jun June
Jul July
Aug August
Sep September
Oct October
Nov November
Dec December

This Day in Georgia History

May 21, 1917

Series of Fires in Atlanta

What began as a warm, windy day would end with the most fire destruction to Atlanta since Sherman burned the city in 1864. In a strange set of circumstances, four different fires broke out in Atlanta – all in about an hour’s time. The first three did damage but were put out. The fourth fire was reported at 12:46 p.m. At a storage building used by Grady Hospital, the first Atlanta firemen on the scene found a stack of mattresses ablaze. Unfortunately, they did not have a fire hose and had to watch helplessly as the wind spread the fire to neighboring buildings. Over the next nine hours, almost 2,000 homes were destroyed. Ten thousand Atlanta residents - mostly blacks - were left homeless. Amazingly, only one person died - and that a woman who suffered a heart attack after seeing her house burn. Interestingly, of the 1,938 buildings that burned, all but 250 had shingle roofs - which led the Atlanta city council to pass an ordinance prohibiting use of wood shingles on new buildings.