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This page is for discussing the contents of Disasters.

Need to integrate these two pages

Disasters Explosions

Don't forget to look at the brief but interesting overview of our less disastrous history and the thorough year-by-year coverage of Past Events.


  • 1832 - Cholera epidemic tears through the city, taking with it roughly 2,500 lives or 1% of the population over just six short weeks.

  • October, 1837 - William Lyman is murdered by Octavius Barren on North Clinton. This is noteworthy for being the city's first murder.

  • March 17-19, 1865 - Worst flood in the city's history, with water as deep as 6' at Four Corners. All but 10% of the streets in the First Ward are submerged. Total damages in western New York exceed $1million. City petitions President Lincoln to exclude Rochester from further Civil War draft requirements as manpower is needed to clean up and repair flood damage.

  • December 21, 1887 - Naphtha fuel from the Vacuum Oil Works seeps into the sewer Naphtha Disaster of 1887" causing three successive explosions]. The alarm following the first explosion brought residents to the streets to be caught in the succeeding blasts.

  • 1888 - Steam Gauge and Lantern Works Fire cremates 35 trapped workers and injures countless more who jump to safety.


  • January 8, 1901 - Fire at Rochester Orphan Asylum kills twenty-eight children and three adults. ([WWW]link)

  • February 26, 1904 - Fire at Sibley's store (also known as Sibley, Lindsay, and Curr) in the Granite Building spreads to three city blocks and destroys $4 to $5 million dollars in structures and contents. Considered one of the worst fires in Rochester history, it was likely caused by a bad electrical connection in an elevator. Concerns that the fire would spread and overpower the Rochester Fire Department, help was summoned from Buffalo and Syracuse, whose firemen and equipment raced to Rochester by train. A New York Times article describing the event also noted that trains brought many sight-seers to Rochester from surrounding towns, to view the fire.

  • 1918 - Spanish Flu epidemic takes 1100 lives within four months.

  • September 21, 1951 - 19 homes are destroyed, 25 others seriously damaged, three people killed and 40 injured when pressure valves fail in the natural gas system in the Twelve Corners area of Brighton.

  • July 24-26, 1964 - 1964 Race Riot - Four people are killed, scores injured and hundreds arresting in three days of rioting in the Third and Seventh Wards. Frustrated by poor housing, lack of economic opportunities, and police mistreatment, African-American residents of Rochester vent their anger. It is the first time the National Guard was called out to respond to a race riot in a Northern city.

  • March 21, 1965 - $2 million worth of damage caused by fire on Main Street of nearby Hilton. It took 500 fire fighters to contain the blaze. [WWW]Read more here.

  • 1966 - 'The Blizzard of '66' hit Rochester, closing schools and businesses, and shutting down the airport, for a week. [WWW]Video about the Blizzard of '66 on YouTube

  • October 12, 1970 - Columbus Day Bombings

  • October 1974 - A break in the Erie Canal floods the Bushnell's Basin area of Perinton in southeastern Monroe County, destroying 41 homes and damaging many others 1.

  • November 16, 1978 - Fire at the Greece Holiday Inn on West Ridge Road kills 10 guests, mostly Canadians in town to shop.

  • March 3-4, 1991 - An overnight ice storm closed down much of Greater Rochester for a week, cutting off power to 325,000 residents and substantially damaging or destroying more than 100,000 trees. It was possibly the most expensive natural disaster in state history.



  • 1[WWW]HistoricPittsford.com, [WWW]NYCanal.com
  • 2Disaster Status Disputed, really though, I defy anyone to argue otherwise at this point -RP
  • 3Blind trust in marketing "experts", gross mismanagement, and financial malfeasance do not a "disaster" make. Nobody died and nothing was physically destroyed. I'll agree that the Fast Ferry was a figurative "disaster" it was not a literal one, making it's inclusion here inappropriate. -JH


66mayflowerdrivebrighton.jpg1951: Remnants of Brighton home. - Image Source: Brighton Municipal Historian Collection

  • April 5, 1849 - Powder mill destroyed in explosion at Allens Creek in Brighton. ([WWW]link)

  • December 21, 1887 - Naphtha Disaster of 1887

  • July 14, 1891 - Gasometer explodes at Municipal Gas Light Company. Blast heard two miles away. Shards of metal flying through air.

  • June 1, 1900 - Explosion of alcoholic vapors at Eastman Works felt a mile away. ([WWW]link)

  • January 11, 1901 - Explosions follow the start of the orphan asylum fire tragedy. ([WWW]link)

  • October 31, 1908 - Oil stove explodes. Wind sweeps flames to burn 40 cottages at Windsor Beach.

  • 1917 - Lightning strike ignites and leads to explosion of alcohol destroying building 27 at Kodak Park.

  • March 11, 1920 - Explosion at Vacuum Oil Company. ([WWW]link)

  • July 20, 1925 - Bomb intended to blow up fish market wrecks front of building. ([WWW]link)

  • 1929 - Explosion destroys gas station in Bushnell's Basin.

  • 1942 - Sparks lead to explosion at Rochester Fireworks Company.

  • September 21, 1951 - Gas regulator at Twelve Corners fails. 19 homes completely destroyed by internal explosions. ([WWW]link)

  • March 21, 1965 - Gas explosion contributes significantly to the rapid spread of the infamous 1965 Hilton fire.

  • October 12, 1970 - Columbus Day Bombings

  • April 23, 1978 - [WWW]Salvatore Gingello assassinated via car bomb, after having survived five prior attempted bombings.

  • August 1, 1988 - Jersey St house explosion. A distraught man cut the natural gas line and opened tanks of acetylene and other gases, resulting in a massive explosion that leveled the home, damaged responding emergency vehicles and injured the man and many emergency responders. Although the man survived the initial explosion, he would later die from his injuries.

  • December 18, 1999 - The implosion of Hotel Rochester

  • April 29, 2003 - Gas tanker overturns and explodes near the corner of West Ridge Road and Lake Ave.

  • January 2006 - * Wiki Community/Wiki Explosion