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
As Reported in "The Mystery" for Wednesday, 16 April
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.