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Headline graphic: Flames Run Riot

Image: Chinatown ablaze. 

 Image: Headline from evening newspaper. "Fire in Block 15 Gets Beyond Control -- Kaumakapili Church Destroyed -- Residents of Quarantine District Marched Out by Thousands -- Fire Laddies Hard Fight.

Click on the thumbnails below for a larger image.
 

Image:The fire escapes to Kaumakapili Church.  Click for larger image.

On January 20, 1900, the Board of Health intended to burn the wood buildings on the mauka (mountain) side of Beretania Street between Nuuanu Avenue and Smith Street. Five people had died in this block in the previous week.

Image: A bit later. Click for larger image.

Because of the size of the area, the entire fire department with all four of its engines were on the scene.

Image: The fire at its peak.  Click for larger image.

The fire was ignited at 9 a.m. and all went well for the first hour, until the wind shifted.

Image: The fire viewed from King and Fort Streets.  Click for larger image.

Soon buildings adjoining the area were ablaze and then fire leaped to the steeple of Kaumakapili Church, which stood on Beretania at the head of Smith Street.

Image: The exodus.  Click for larger image.

The fire fighters could not get water to such a height, and from the steeples the flames, aided by a strong wind, spread to devour thirty-eight acres, almost all of Chinatown.

petroman, link to part 3 of feature, The Passing of Chinatown.Part 3: The Passing of Chinatown

 
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