The Great Fire of Pittsburgh

April 10, 1845 A.D.

The first blaze the Firebug are associated with is the Great Fire of Pittsburgh.  The blaze broke out the day after his first wedding anniversary.  (It is this vital clue that leads MacThoy historians to suspect that is was not Firebug but his wife, Constance who had been responsible for the fire.  For more information see Handfasting. --ed)

As Reported in "The Mystery" for Wednesday, 16 April 1845:

Pittsburg in Ruins!!!

. . .  one fourth of the city of Pittsburgh, now lay in a destructive mass of ruins. . . .

The fire, as though impelled by the hand of the Destroying Angel rolled on from building to building, with the flight of a fiery flying serpent, consuming every house with the angry fury of a Vulcan, speeding its way with awful and terific progress, threatening the whole city, inhabitants and all, and only ceased its mad career in the line of the river, because there was nothing more for it to destroy, having swept every thing in its way for one mile and a quarter!

Never did any event appear more like Judgment Day. People running, some screaming, others hallowing, warning the people to fly for their lives, carts, drays, furniture wagons, omnibuses, horses, and all and every kind of vehicle, crowded the streets to an excess which made it difficult for each to escape, and threatened destruction to all! May we never again witness such a scene, until the last conflagration of this terrestrial globe!

Police found Firebug near where the fire started.  He and his wife lived nearby.  He was severely burned to the point that blood ran from his face.  They rushed him to the hospital and from there he became a Subject of Interest.

Firebug claimed that was out searching for his wife, fearing for her well-being.  Then the wind blasted the flames out of a building and knocked him to the ground, upon which time the local authorities discovered him.

Much to Firebug's delight, his wife was unharmed.  Leech was never completely exonerated of the conflagration and the pair was forced to leave Pittsburg or suffer the abuse of their neighbors.

They traveled extensively for the next two years but were never able to stay in one place for very long before another blaze would erupt.  During this time, Leech was dubbed Firebug which only made matters worse.

It was under these adverse conditions and Leech's fervent hope to start a new life that the couple decided to undertake a hazardous trip to West and ultimately to San Francisco.

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Created: May 9, 2001
Last modified: September 12, 2006