130 years later: the Great Seattle Fire was a turning point in the city’s history

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SEATTLE -- Thursday (June 6) marks 130 years since a significant turning point in Seattle's history.

The Great Seattle Fire of 1889 forever changed the physical and political landscapes of the city.

It started about 2:30 p.m. in a paint and woodwork shop at Front and Madison streets. A hot glue pot was the source of the massive blaze.

Over the next 18 hours, it swept across 100 acres of the city's business district and waterfront.

Aid pledges came in from cities across America, and within a year, Seattle was nearly rebuilt.

As civic leaders and property owners assessed the damage, they made a key decision to not move somewhere else, but to build right on top of the destruction. That's why so much of today's Pioneer Square neighborhood is more than 20 feet above where the original neighborhood once sat.

Underground tours are a big attraction for tourists and locals alike.

Some reports say miraculously, no one died in the fire. Other reports say a young boy named James was the only casualty.

But during the rebuilding process a number of people were killed because of the rush to get the city back up and running.

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