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Fire on the Waterfront


With the wind blowing from the north,
the fire wasn’t expected to advance
in that direction. But wood is worth
as much as wind to the spark, and grants
it more air later—plenty of each below
street level. The fire crept at a slow
and steady pace through basements
along the waterfront, through vents
and even doorways, entirely unobserved.
Under the wharfing, it spread beneath
the street and blacksmith shop, then carved
its way to Kenyon Block to wreathe
the entire waterfront district. Every quay
and warehouse crumpled into the bay.

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