#Flashfiction – Fire

Early on the morning of Sunday, 2 September 1666, a stray spark from a baker’s oven in a house on Pudding Street, London, lit a nearby bundle of sticks which began to burn. The thick smoke woke a servant who was asleep in his room on the ground floor. He scrambled upstairs to wake his master, Thomas Farriner, his master’s daughter and the maid. They soon discovered that the fire had already taken over the ground floor and they could not escape down the stairs. Climbing out of the window, crawling along the gutter, and climbing in the window of the neighbouring house was their only way of escape. They all made their way to safety except the maid, who was to overcome by fear and smoke to follow them. The great fire of London had started and had claimed its first victim.

The fire gutted the medieval City of London inside the old Roman city wall. 13 200 Houses, 87 parish churches, St Paul’s Cathedral and most of the buildings of the City authorities were destroyed in the fire which burned until Thursday, 6 September 1666.

There is a school of thought that believes that the fire saved lives in the long run by destroying so much of London’s unsanitary housing, along with there infestations of rats and fleas that transmitted the plague. No further plague epidemics occurred in London after the great fire.

Interesting fact: A melted piece of pottery found by archaeologists in Pudding Lane, shows that the temperature reached 1 250 degrees Celsius (2 280 degrees Fahrenheit). This piece of pottery is on display at the Museum of London.

Charli’s prompt this week is: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about fire. It can be a flame that burns or a light that inspires. Follow the flames and go where the prompt leads!

Jack woke up, coughing. Thick, choking smoke filled his room. Within moments he realised the house was on fire. Pulling his blanket over his head, he slipped out of his bedroom door and up the stairs.

“Fire! Wake up!” Turning back, Jack could see tongues of flame licking at the first wooden step. Tendrils of bright fire ran up along the banister.

Mr Farriner appeared with his daughter and the maid. “There’s no way down. We’ll have to climb out of the window and crawl along the guttering. We can climb in the window of the house next door.”

You can join in the challenge here: https://carrotranch.com/2019/04/04/april-4-flash-fiction-challenge/

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22 thoughts on “#Flashfiction – Fire

  1. it’s always amazed me to wonder what things were like then; not just the plague and the fire but the fact it was less than 20 years since the monarchy had been restored after Cromwell’s turn. The political volatility must have been huge, what with the cost of reconstruction, the lost manpower form the plague and the inevitable blame games. There’s even a charter from then, 1667 that is used to extort money from property developers in the City of London still and we are talking 100,000s of pounds. Funny how such history keeps resonating… I should do a post like you!

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    1. I wish you would, Geoff. I would love to read your thoughts. I read up on the cost of the rebuild and even the circumstances that led to the fire getting out of control. Such a lot that was avoidable if better action had been taken at the time.

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