The Dublin Whiskey Fire of 1875

The Dublin Whiskey Fire took place on 18 June 1875 in the Liberties district of Dublin. It lasted only one night, cost the lives of 13 people and caused €6 million in damage to the whiskey alone.

Whiskey in the firelight
© Photo by Waldrebell on Pixabay
Source:  Wikipedia article regarding the Dublin Whiskey Fire

It is believed that the fire broke out in Laurence Malone's bonded warehouse on the corner of Ardee Street, where 1,193,000 litres of whiskey worth £54,000 (equivalent to £5.45 million ) were stored. The exact cause of the fire is not known, but it is known that the alarm was raised at 8.30pm. At 9.30pm, the barrels in the warehouse began to explode with heat, sending a stream of whiskey through the doors and windows of the burning building.

Residents were first alerted to the fire by the squealing of pigs in the burning stalls, which reportedly contributed to a surprisingly quick evacuation.

During the evacuation, many people gathered at the whiskey streams and filled every available container with the alcohol. "Caps, bowls and other vessels" were collected to soak up the burning liquid.

None of the 24 hospitalisations and 13 deaths, incidentally, were due to smoke inhalation or burns; all were due to alcohol poisoning from drinking the undiluted whiskey that had been stored in barrels.