Give clothes or home items.
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Be really thoughtful here. If they were insured, your friends will be provided with the household basics and might not be ready to sort through a lot of stuff. Make a meal or bring groceries. Your friends are probably exhausted and struggling on many levels. Even if they are staying with people temporarily, this could help their hosts.
I wasn't able to take the time to drive that far, but a friend found out, bought them and delivered them right to me. It meant so much. Focus on the children. Losing everything is especially devastating for them; their belongings mean so much.
Great Chicago Fire - Wikipedia
If you can, figure out a game or toy a child is missing particularly and get that to him or her right away. You will have done a great thing for the entire family. Consider taking the long view. The process after a fire is long. You may want to check in throughout the rebuild and do any of the above a few months down the road when they may need it most.
Do you have friends who had to evacuate, but their home survived? They have been through a terrible ordeal too and are probably feeling wrecked. Wildfires are currently devastating homes and neighborhoods in Northern California. Here is a list of volunteer and donation opportunities to help those affected by the California fires. Community members seeking to volunteer may contact the Sonoma County Emergency Operations Center Shelter division at to find out how they can be of assistance.
The American Red Cross Disaster Relief helps people in crisis get through the first 48 hours after a disaster with money for food, shelter and clothes.
Find out more at redcross. Comments Showing 2 Languages.
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See more comments. Like 1. Alison Hodgson. Lisa Fouts. Hi, Thank you for sharing. I have gone thru same, fire last May, it was arson.
"My family and I survived the blaze, but we thought we’d lost everything else. We were wrong."
We made it out because of alert neighbors. My mom was 95, and in a wheel chair. Yes you are in a state of shock for a few days. My mother passed a few months after. Still in the very slow rebuilding process Thanks again it is nice to read that there is an end Related Stories. A Missouri native proves that you can go home again — and discover something entirely unexpected.
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Follow this expert advice to get your house ready for rebuilding while you consider your options. Evacuation from London and resettlement elsewhere were strongly encouraged by Charles II, who feared a London rebellion amongst the dispossessed refugees. Despite several radical proposals, London was reconstructed on essentially the same street plan used before the fire. By the s, London was by far the largest city in Britain, estimated at half a million inhabitants.
However, due to the Great Plague of London during the previous winter, its population had decreased. John Evelyn , contrasting London to the Baroque magnificence of Paris, called it a "wooden, northern, and inartificial congestion of Houses", and expressed alarm about the fire hazards posed by the wood and the congestion. London had been a Roman settlement for four centuries and had become progressively more crowded inside its defensive city wall.
It had also pushed outwards beyond the wall into squalid extramural slums such as Shoreditch , Holborn , and Southwark , and had reached far enough to include the independent City of Westminster. By the late 17th century, the City proper—the area bounded by the City wall and the River Thames —was only a part of London, covering some acres 2.
The City was surrounded by a ring of inner suburbs where most Londoners lived. The City was then, as now, the commercial heart of the capital, and was the largest market and busiest port in England, dominated by the trading and manufacturing classes. The aristocracy shunned the City and lived either in the countryside beyond the slum suburbs, or in the exclusive Westminster district the modern West End , the site of King Charles II's court at Whitehall.
Wealthy people preferred to live at a convenient distance from the traffic-clogged, polluted, unhealthy City, especially after it was hit by a devastating outbreak of bubonic plague in the Plague Year of The relationship was often tense between the City and the Crown. The City of London had been a stronghold of republicanism during the Civil War — , and the wealthy and economically dynamic capital still had the potential to be a threat to Charles II, as had been demonstrated by several republican uprisings in London in the early s. The City magistrates were of the generation that had fought in the Civil War, and could remember how Charles I's grab for absolute power had led to that national trauma.
They were determined to thwart any similar tendencies in his son, and when the Great Fire threatened the City, they refused the offers that Charles made of soldiers and other resources. Even in such an emergency, the idea of having the unpopular Royal troops ordered into the City was political dynamite. By the time that Charles took over command from the ineffectual Lord Mayor, the fire was already out of control.
The City was essentially medieval in its street plan, an overcrowded warren of narrow, winding, cobbled alleys. It had experienced several major fires before , the most recent in Building with wood and roofing with thatch had been prohibited for centuries, but these cheap materials continued to be used.
These parishes contained workplaces, many of which were fire hazards— foundries , smithies , glaziers —which were technically illegal in the City but tolerated in practice. The human habitations were crowded to bursting point, intermingled with these sources of heat, sparks, and pollution, and their construction increased the fire risk. The typical six- or seven-storey timbered London tenement houses had " jetties " projecting upper floors. They had a narrow footprint at ground level, but maximised their use of land by "encroaching" on the street, as a contemporary observer put it, with the gradually increasing size of their upper storeys.
The fire hazard was well perceived when the top jetties all but met across the narrow alleys; "as it does facilitate a conflagration, so does it also hinder the remedy", wrote one observer  —but "the covetousness of the citizens and connivancy [corruption] of Magistrates" worked in favour of jetties. In , Charles II issued a proclamation forbidding overhanging windows and jetties, but this was largely ignored by the local government.
Charles's next, sharper message in warned of the risk of fire from the narrowness of the streets and authorised both imprisonment of recalcitrant builders and demolition of dangerous buildings. It, too, had little impact. Wattle-and-daub was a common building material: research by fire brigades showed that well-made new wattle-and-daub was strongly fire-resistant, but old neglected wattle-and-daub with patches of daub flaked off would expose patches of wattle that readily caught fire.
The river front was important in the development of the Great Fire. The Thames offered water for firefighting and the chance of escape by boat, but the poorer districts along the riverfront had stores and cellars of combustibles which increased the fire risk. All along the wharves, the rickety wooden tenements and tar paper shacks of the poor were shoehorned amongst "old paper buildings and the most combustible matter of tarr, pitch, hemp, rosen, and flax which was all layd up thereabouts.
London was also full of black powder , especially along the river front. Much of it was left in the homes of private citizens from the days of the English Civil War, as the former members of Oliver Cromwell 's New Model Army still retained their muskets and the powder with which to load them. Five to six hundred tons of powder was stored in the Tower of London. Fires were common in the crowded wood-built city with its open fireplaces, candles, ovens, and stores of combustibles. There was no police or fire brigade to call, but London's local militia , known as the Trained Bands , was available for general emergencies, at least in principle, and watching for fire was one of the jobs of the watch , a thousand watchmen or "bellmen" who patrolled the streets at night.
Public-spirited citizens would be alerted to a dangerous house fire by peals on the church bells, and would congregate hastily to fight the fire. The methods available for this relied on demolition and water. By law, the tower of every parish church had to hold equipment for these efforts: long ladders, leather buckets, axes, and "firehooks" for pulling down buildings see illustration right, see also pike pole. This drastic method of creating firebreaks was increasingly used towards the end of the Great Fire, and modern historians believe that it was what finally won the struggle.
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London Bridge was the only physical connection between the City and the south side of the river Thames and was itself covered with houses. It had been noted as a deathtrap in the fire of and, by dawn on Sunday, these houses were burning. Samuel Pepys observed the conflagration from the Tower of London and recorded great concern for friends living on the bridge.
The foot 5. Once the riverfront was on fire and the escape route cut off by boat, the only exits were the eight gates in the wall. During the first couple of days, few people had any notion of fleeing the burning City altogether. They would remove what they could carry of their belongings to the nearest "safe house", in many cases the parish church or the precincts of St Paul's Cathedral, only to have to move again hours later.
Some moved their belongings and themselves "four and five times" in a single day. The crucial factor which frustrated firefighting efforts was the narrowness of the streets. Even under normal circumstances, the mix of carts, wagons, and pedestrians in the undersized alleys was subject to frequent traffic jams and gridlock. During the fire, the passages were additionally blocked by refugees camping in them amongst their rescued belongings, or escaping outwards, away from the centre of destruction, as demolition teams and fire engine crews struggled in vain to move in towards it.