History

The 1875 Great Whiskey Fire of Dublin killed 13 people, all of which died from alcohol poisoning

In 1875 a fire broke out at Malone’s malt house and store house on Chamber Street in Dublin. The fire ignited over 5000 barrels of whiskey which exploded and left the contents pouring into the streets. The incident claimed the lives of 13 people, however, no one died due to the flames or smoke inhalation – all 13 people died from alcohol poisoning.

The inferno sent a river of whiskey pouring into the streets, the whisky caught fire causing the flames to spread and the blaze quickly became out of control. The only thing left to do was try and capture the precious liquid before it went to waste.

1875 Dublin Whisky Fire

The Illustrated London Times reported at the time:

Crowds of people assembled, and took off their hats and boots to collect the whisky, which ran in streams along the streets. Four persons have died in the hospital from the effects of drinking the whisky, which was burning hot as it flowed. Two corn-porters, named Healy and M’Nulty, were found in a lane off Cork-street, lying insensible, with their boots off, which they had evidently used to collect the liquor. There are many other persons in the hospital who are suffering from the same cause. Two boys are reported to be dying, and it is feared that other deaths will follow.

The river of whiskey was reported to be 6 inches deep and went on for more than 400 meters, with the locals using all manner of implements to consume the river of liquor, including hats and boots!

Some of the 5000 barrels that were supposed to be destroyed eventually turned up under suspicious circumstances, with “Three casks were rolled into the Coombe, and the result was that six men were arrested in a beastly state of intoxication, several more being conveyed to hospital.”

The fire was eventually contained by the Dublin fire brigade by making a large wall of horse manure in the street, the whisky flowed through and the fire eventually smouldered out.

 


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