07/24/10 212 W - + 7 - 4 Burning Down New York City in the 1970s

The Fires: How a Computer Formula, Big Ideas, and the Best of Intentions Burned Down New York City-and Determined the Future of Cities is the long title of a recent non-fiction hardcover by journalist Joe Flood, and as mentioned by Dr. Harry Carter in his latest Firehouse.com column.

There's a review and author Q&A on the Amazon product page. The author spent years researching the "facts and implications of the epidemic of fires that swept through New York City in the 1970s." Areas of the Bronx were devestated, with 97% of all buildings destroyed in six census tracts.

That period is known as the famous FDNY "war years" and which are described in this Google-found letter to the editor from a former Bronx dispatcher. He places the period between the night that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assinated in 1968, and the "second blackout" of 1977.

Sounds like a fascinating slice of history, both from the perspective of the firefighters on the ground, and the best-but-failed intentions of the department and city administrators driving the real world outcomes. As Carter notes in his column, it's a very relevant topic for today. Ordered my copy!

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