Quebec Fires, 1845-1876

The city of Quebec has several times suffered from extensive fires.

Terrible damage was done in 1845 by two conflagrations which occurred within one month, in the Faubourgs of St. Roche and St. John. The first fire was believed to be of incendiary origin, and occurred on the night of May 28. Nearly 1,700 buildings were destroyed, and 30 persons were known to have been burned to death, while over 50 were reported missing. The second fire took place in June, when about 1,300 houses were destroyed. The two fires burned 3,000 houses and destroyed more than $8,000,000 worth of property. The fire engines then in use in Quebec were of the most primitive design, and of very little use. Water was carried to a reservoir in each engine in buckets, and then pumped into the burning building of the Theater Royal in 1846.

On June 22, 1865, a fire which broke out in the thickly populated quarter of Pres-de-ville destroyed the houses on both sides of Champlain-street for three-quarters of a mile, causing a loss of $1,500,000.

Another fire on Aug. 18, 1865, destroyed over 50 buildings on Curran, Queen, Richardson, and King streets.

One of the most terrible of Quebec's conflagrations occurred on Oct. 15, 1866, when 2.500 buildings, over 1,500 of which were dwellings, were destroyed, 3.000 families were rendered homeless, and a money loss of about $3,000,000 was caused. The ruins of this started very early in the morning in the house of a grocer named Trudel on St. Joseph-street, near the Jacques Cartier Market. A heavy east wind spread the flames rapidly, and although the firemen were promptly on hand, 80 houses were on fire before 5:30 o'clock, and an hour later 150 buildings had been burned. At 5 o'clock in the afternoon the fire ceased burning for lack of food for the flames.

Still another fire, in May, 1876, destroyed 1.000 houses and $1,000,000 worth of property.

The New York Times, New York, NY 10 Jun 1881