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Fighting Fire!: Ten of the Deadliest Fires in American History and How We Fought Them
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Fighting Fire!: Ten of the Deadliest Fires in American History and How We Fought Them

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  61 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
From colonial times to the modern day, two things have remained constant in American history: the destructive power of fires and the bravery of those who fight them.


Fighting Fire! brings to life ten of the deadliest infernos this nation has ever endured: the great fires of Boston, New York, Chicago, Baltimore, and San Francisco, the disasters of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fa
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 4th 2014 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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Teresa Scherping Moulton
Fire has been a part of human life since before recorded history, and over the centuries we've developed better ways of harnessing and controlling fire. Sometimes, though, we lose control. This is the story of the ten deadliest fires in American history and how they were fought. Beginning in colonial times, fires have erupted in America's largest cities because of a lack of knowledge of how fire spreads and an abundance of flammable building materials. Over time, firefighting techniques and tech ...more
Sharon Tyler
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fighting Fire!: Ten of the Deadliest Fires in American History and How We Fought Them by Michael Cooper is a nonfiction book for children and adults alike. The book details 10 of the deadliest fires in American history from colonial times to the modern day. There are two constants in all of the stories, the destructive power of fires and the bravery of those who fight them. The infernoes included in this book are the great fires of Boston, New York, Chicago, Baltimore, and San Francisco, the dis ...more
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It is a well researched book on some pretty catastrophic fires in our nation’s history. These disasters are covered methodically through time. As time progresses from the first Boston fire in 1760 until today, the reader gets to experience the leaps and strides made in fire fighting. These strides include developments in fire fighting equipment, fire safety, safety in the workplace, fire prevention, etc. I maybe a little biased; but as a former fireman I found the boo ...more
May 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
My father is a volunteer firefighter so that sparked my interest when I saw this book at the library. I did not realize it was a middle school book since it was shelved in general non-fiction. But the writing is much crisper and easier to read because of that level. The author does an excellent job of describing each fire, its historical context, how the firefighters combated the fire, and the repercussions. There were a few moments where I felt the author was overexplaining a few terms but then ...more
Ms. Yingling
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I must admit that I blanched a bit when I saw that this was over 200 pages long; it's tough to get students to read nonfiction over 64 pages. However, the way this book is set up, I think that students find this interesting. There are ten very different fires described, from a 1760 Boston fire I'd never heard about, to a New York pleasure boat fire in 1904 that killed over 1,000 people, to fires in San Francisco and California. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and Cocoanut Grove fires, as well as ...more
Fire is both an incredibly fascinating phenomenon and a sometimes terrifying reality. Fighting Fire shares with the reader the terrifying side of fire and the courage of those who fight it. Each chapter focuses on one of the ten major fires that caused both tremendous damage and in some cases, loss of life. The book is over 200 pages and so is likely to appeal to more advanced readers, although the many photographs included do a great job breaking up the text. The text also reads more like a nar ...more
Sharon Lawler
Starting with the 1760 fire that ravaged Boston, and ending with the 2007 San Diego county fire, this middle grade and above text details the ten deadliest fires in the US. In a clear writing style, each chapter is punctuated by several illustrations, photos, and reproductions of newspaper headlines. The book can be read as a continual improvement of fire fighting, or each chapter could stand on it's own as a part of that city's history. Besides the sequence of events leading up to and the techn ...more
Aug 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Cooper provides a readable history of ten of the deadliest fires in American history. The subject matter isn't always a pleasant read, but the spirit and strength of the firefighters and survivors comes through. I was slightly disappointed that all of the illustrations and photographs were black and white. Fire is such an amazing substance that I think some color photos from more recent fires would have been dynamic. However at the same time I appreciated the mood created by only having black an ...more
Mrs.Melaugh Melaugh
This is a fantastic example of narrative non-fiction. Ten of the worst fires in American history are described chronologically. The gripping accounts begin in Boston (1760) and end in San Diego County (2007). In between, among others, are the famous Chicago fire in 1871, the loss of the General Slocum riverboat in 1904, the Cocoanut Grove nightclub calamity in Boston (1942), and 9/11. Fascinating details, including first-hand accounts of the fires as well as plentiful black-and-white photographs ...more
Jul 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: tween, non-fiction
Clear writing, all the jargon is defined. Though the subtitle says this is about how these fires were fought, it really provides a larger picture. I actually wished there was more about how people fight fires. It did address the many changes we've made in the US over the years to increase fire safety. Nearly every chapter spoke to that until it got to 9/11. I may be biased, that being a tragedy I remember quite vividly but it felt far more terrifying than the rest since almost everything else wa ...more
Firefighting equipment and techniques have changed dramatically over the centuries. This book tells the stories of 10 different, deadly fires that have occurred in the US from Colonial times to the present. With drawings and photos to support the narrative text, these changes can be clearly seen. Several of the fires described were ones that I was quite familiar with, but others were unknown to me. While an interesting and informative text, it may have a select audience unless it can be tied to ...more
Doug Bivens
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Brief but a good read. Not a comprehensive source but contains information on several famous fires including the Baltimore fire of 1904, The steamboat General Slocum fire, and The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 which makes this book a great jumping off point for research/interest. There are also several lists in the back of the book of information to aid in further research on this topic
Rebecca Honeycutt
Disaster-hungry readers will appreciate the descriptions (complete with black-and-white photos and illustrations) of fiery devastation, even though the overall layout of the book is fairly uninspiring; educators will appreciate use of primary sources (complete with source notes and a bibliography).
Mar 20, 2015 rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars. Tells the story of 10 of the worst American fires. For the most part the book held my attention. Some chapters were definitely more interesting than others. I will openly admit that I'm not much of a nonfiction fan, and while this wasn't the worst book I've ever read--it certainly wasn't the best. I do believe it has appeal for younger boys.
Donna Jackson
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
The book was an easy read. Each chapter discussed a different major fire in U.S. history and what firefighters learned from the battle. My only critique is that the book dealt with the more technical side of fires and fire safety, whereas my interest lies with how people's lives were affected by the fires.
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I think that boys especially would enjoy this nonfiction narrative about deadly fires in U.S. history. It includes some of the most famous fires--Great Chicago Fire, San Francisco Fire, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, and 9-11 fire after the bombing of the World Trade Centers.
Interesting narrative, photographs, and primary source material.
Edward Sullivan
Spanning from the late 18th century to the recent past, Cooper chronicles in a richly illustrated, dramatic narrative ten fires that each provide a different angle to the history of American firefighting.
Karen Arendt
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
An informative look at how firefighting has evolved in American History, focusing on ten fires in history, including the September 11 attack. The focus of the book is how the fires were fought rather than the start of them and the devastation caused. Very informative.
DK Hoffman
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-ficiton
Fascinating and heartbreaking - all at the same time.
Jul 29, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-new
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent primer for the children who are interesting in fire fighters/fighting.
Beehive Award Nominee 2016
Oct 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Just started reading.... Thoroughly enjoying this book so far.

Each fire has led to improvements in fire service and firefighting.
Alexander Jones
Dec 29, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fictional
Beehive Award Nominee 2016
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, kids
It is amazing how people can rebuild and change things for the better after a tragedy.
rated it really liked it
Oct 07, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Jun 15, 2015
Violet Grossmann
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May 02, 2017
Angie The Librarian
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Oct 14, 2014
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Aug 20, 2014
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