Deacons to the Rescue
September 2, 1666, was the day the Great Fire of London began. It was a devastating fire that lasted four days. It consumed 13,200 houses, eighty-seven churches (including St. Paul’s Cathedral), and most government buildings. It is estimated to have destroyed the homes of 70,000 of the city’s 80,000 inhabitants. The fire began in the house of King Charles II’s baker, Thomas Farriner. On the evening of September 1, Farriner failed to properly extinguish his oven. He went to bed, and sometime around midnight, sparks from the smoldering embers ignited firewood lying beside the oven. Before long, his house was in flames. Farriner managed to escape with his family and a servant out an upstairs window, but a bakery assistant was overtaken by the blaze. The fire then spread and raged throughout the city.