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Chiropractic Journal of Australia : December 2011
Chiropractic Journal of Australia Volume 41 Number 4 December 2011 141 and 80,000 manuscripts were saved. The blaze also destroyed 8,500 artifacts in the New York State Museum, including irreplaceable Seneca Indian craftworks.5 The Great Porcupine Fire of 1911 was one of the most devastating forest fres ever to strike the Ontario northland. Spring had come early that year, followed by an abnormally hot dry spell that lasted into the summer. This created ideal conditions for the ensuing disaster, in which a number of smaller fres converged. Porcupine, a community on the north side of Porcupine Lake, in the city of Timmins, Ontario, Canada, was the site of a huge gold discovery in 1907. On July 11, 1911, when the Porcupine Gold Rush was at its height, a gale from the southwest whipped some small bush fres into fames. As the fre gained strength, it engulfed the tinder-dry forest. The blaze formed a horseshoe-shaped front over 36 kilometres wide with fames shooting 30 metres into the air. It laid waste to about 200,000 hectares of forest and killed at least 70 people, though early reports indicated thousands. Many people were drowned as they fed into Porcupine Lake to escape the fames, while others suffocated to death under the mines. At one point, a car of dynamite stored at the railway station exploded, lashing the lake into waves 3 metres high. The exact number of dead is not known as the vast forest in the region contained an unknown number of prospectors at the time of the fre. Offcial counts list 73 dead, though it was estimated the actual toll could have been as high as 200.6 The Great Fire of 1911 started in Bangor, Maine, in the afternoon of 30 April 1911 on Broad Street. High winds had spread it to a shed on Exchange Street and the Universalist Church on Center Street by 4:10 PM, from where it spread into the residential neighborhood on Center Street Hill. The fre eventually became so large that the glow in the sky could be seen in Belfast, Ireland. It was brought under control on Monday morning, 1 May 1911, but it destroyed much of Downtown Bangor. The Post Offce, the Custom House, and Norumbega Hall were lost, along with the three buildings of Bangor High School and the Bangor Public Library. Somehow, City Hall survived, despite being in the direct path of the fre. The library’s collection of 70,000 volumes was destroyed, along with much of the Bangor Historical Society’s collection. An attempt to slow the fre by dynamiting buildings in its path failed. A light rain that began overnight did much to bring the fire under control. In total, 285 residences, 100 businesses, and 6 churches were destroyed, doing $3.2 million damage and leaving hundreds homeless. Before the fre, insurance companies had considered Bangor a good risk. Remarkably, only two lives were lost: one Brewer man when a wall collapsed on him, and one frefghter who was killed by a falling chimney.7 Floods In 1900, Bayless Paper chose to construct a paper mill in the Freeman Run Valley. By 1909, the company realized that occasional dry seasons required a more reliable water source. After fnding a small earthen dam to be inadequate, the T. Chalkey Hatton frm built a large concrete dam across the valley. The dam was 15m high, 160m long and cost $86,000 to construct. It was designed to be thirty feet thick, but was built only twenty feet thick. Within only a few months of its completion, problems were detected. The dam bowed more than 11m under the pressure of the water it was holding and the concrete started cracking. The bowing was alleviated by using dynamite to blast a 4m space for the excess water to spill over. The cracking was claimed to be normal because of the drying cement. On 30 September 1911 the dam failed and destroyed the Bayless Pulp & Paper Mill as well as much of the town of Austin. The damage was approximately $10 million. It also resulted in the deaths of 78 people.8 China’s Yangzi (Yangtze) River fooded its banks in early September 1911, killing an estimated 100,000.3 Tsunami An earthquake in the Atlantic Ocean triggered a tsunami that affected the Gold Coast of Africa on 11 May 1911. The Tsunami Source was approximately 6825 km to the west.9 Volcano Taal volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. An eruption of Taal on 30 January 1911 killed 1334 people and produced ash which reached Manila.10 Mining Disasters The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Mining Division reported that 24 mining disasters occurred in the United States with 495 fatalities.11 The highest toll was at the Banner coal mine at Littleton, Alabama, where an explosion killed 128 miners on 8 April.12 The second highest death-toll took place on 9 December, when a roof fall triggered an explosion in the Cross Mountain Coal Mine near Briceville, Tennessee, where 84 miners died.13 On 7 April the third highest count of 73 casualties took place at the Price- Pancoast Coal Mine near Troop, Pennsylvania.14 Maritime disasters The list of shipwrecks in 1911 included all ships sunk, foundered, grounded, or otherwise lost during 1911 numbering 15, however it appears that only three of these ships had a loss of life.15 • On 11 March 1911 the United States Steamship Sechelt which had operated from 1893 to 1911 on Lake Washington, Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia sank in the Strait of Juan de Fuca with a loss of 37 passengers and crew during a storm.16 • The Australian passenger ship SS Yongala sank off Cape Bowling Green, Queensland, Australia on 23 March 1911. En route from Melbourne to Cairns she steamed into a cyclone and sank south of Townsville. Traces of the ship were found days later as cargo and pieces of wreckage washed ashore at the Cape and at Cleveland Bay, and suggested that the bottom of the ship had been ripped by a hidden rock. All one hundred and twenty- two people on board perished in what is considered one of the most tragic incidents in Australian maritime history.17 • The Liberté was a pre-dreadnought battleship of the French Navy, and the lead ship of her class. Commanded by capitaine de vaisseau Louis Jaurès, She sailed to the United States after her commissioning. Her career was ended when, on 25 September 1911, as the Liberté was moored in Toulon harbour, an accidental explosion in the starboard bow started a fre THE YEAR THAT WAS 1911 PETERS
CJA March 2012