On 11/20/1992 a fire broke out in Windsor Castle in the county of Berkshire, the second largest inhabited castle in the world and one of the official residences of Queen Elizabeth II. The castle suffered extensive damage and was fully repaired within the next few years for £36.5 million. The fire began in the Queen’s Private Chapel at 11:15 a.m. when a curtain was ignited by a spotlight. By 12:20, the fire had spread to St George’s Hall, a banqueting hall and the largest of the State Apartments. The number of fire appliances totaled 39 and 225 firefighters were in attendance. Hoses were directed at all levels of the building surrounding the fire. By 11:00 p.m. the main fire was extinguished, and by 2:30, the last secondary fires were extinguished. Pockets of the fire remained until the early hours of the morning, some 15 hours after it began. Sixty firefighters with eight appliances remained on duty for several more days. The fire had spread rapidly due to the large cavities and voids in the roof. 1.5 million gallons (7 million liters) of water from the mains water supply, a reservoir-fed hydrant, a swimming pool, a pond, and the nearby River Thames had been used to fight the fire. The major loss was to the fabric of the castle. The false ceiling in Saint George’s Hall and the void for coal trucks beneath the floor had allowed the fire to spread. It burned as far as the Chester Tower. Several ceilings collapsed. Apartments burnt included the Crimson Drawing Room (completely gutted), the Green Drawing Room (badly damaged, though only partially destroyed by smoke and water), and the Queen’s Private Chapel (including the double-sided 19th century Henry Willis organ in the gallery between St George’s Hall and Private Chapel, oak paneling, glass, and the altar). St George’s Hall survived with the walls largely intact, but the ceiling had collapsed. The State Dining Room in the Prince of Wales Tower and the Grand Reception Room was also devastated. In total, 100 rooms were affected by the fire. Smaller apartments damaged or destroyed included the Star Chamber, Octagon Room, Brunswick Tower (covered in 12 feet (3.5 m) of debris), Cornwall Tower, Prince of Wales Tower, Chester Tower, Holbein Room, and the Great Kitchen, which lost its plaster coving and most of the medieval timber. The external wall above the bay window of the Crimson Drawing Room (between the Prince of Wales and Chester Towers) was seriously calcified.”
On 11/20/1870 a Baltimore City, Maryland firefighter died “while operating at a fire in a tobacco warehouse, when the walls of the building collapsed, trapping him and two other firefighters under tons of rubble. The other two firefighters were dug out alive and recovered.”
On 11/20/1870 a Lancaster, Pennsylvania firefighter “died as a result of injuries sustained the previous day, when he and several other firefighters were caught under a collapsing wall while operating at a major fire that destroyed a cork factory. The firefighter sustained a fractured skull, fractured leg, and severe burns and scalding to his back.”
On 11/20/1907 an Oakland, California firefighter died after being suffocated by ammonia fumes while operating in a cellar fire at the Collins Brothers’ Drug Store.
On 11/20/1920 a Chicago, Illinois firefighter was injured and died at a fire at 3452 South Wood.
On 11/20/1953 two Lafayette, Indiana firefighters died from injuries they received “while washing down spilled gasoline at the Wonder Bread Bakery, the vapors exploded burning several firefighters. The two firefighters died several hours after the incident. The incident also took the life of a third firefighter, two days later on November 22, 1953.”
On 11/20/1976 an Evansville, Indiana firefighter “collapsed from smoke inhalation while fighting a fire on October 8, 1976. He died on November 20, 1976, from a heart attack caused by smoke inhalation.”
On 11/20/2017 an explosion and fire killed a man and injured more than thirty people, including firefighters, at a manufacturing plant in New York’s Hudson Valley. The explosion happened at around 10:15 a.m. in the north section of Verla International, a business that makes cosmetics, primarily nail polish located at 463 Temple Hill Road in New Windsor, Orange County, New York.
On 11/20/2013 a fire at Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx, New York, killed three after an unattended candle in the basement started the blaze. The Hunts Point Terminal Market has revenues exceeding $2 billion a year — more than any other produce terminal market in the world, according to its website.
On 11/20/1994 around 3:41 p.m., a series of accidental explosions in a 139,000-square foot Lenoir, North Carolina furniture manufacturing facility occurred in the particleboard manufacturing portion of the plant that took “raw dust” and refined it into finished sheets of particle board used in the construction of furniture. After the initiating event, four subsequent explosions occurred throughout the facility, caused by dust placed in suspension by the prior explosion. Observations suggested that there were large amounts of dust throughout the facility with minimal efforts to control ignition sources. Two employees died and four were injured. Production was interrupted for over nine months.
On 11/20/1968 a methane explosion ripped through the Consolidation Coal Company’s No. 9 mine in Farmington, West Virginia that killed seventy-eight miners. Damage was so severe the mine was sealed. “Seventy-eight miners died—some in the explosion and fire, some days after the incident occurred, entombed in the earth after rescue efforts failed and the mine was closed off. Nine days after the fire had started it was still burning out of control. The cause of the explosion remains unknown. Miners had long complained about ventilation issues inside the No. 9 mine, leading to theories that the blast resulted from excess coal dust along with high concentrations of gas in the air. Two weeks before the explosion, a large fire occurred in the mine but was never reported to authorities. The disaster prompted laws designed to improve safety for miners throughout the United States.”
On 11/20/1959 a Wichita Falls, Texas apartment fire killed two including a former University of Texas football star.
On 11/20/1936 the five-story Cable Piano Company fire killed three and injured dozens when fire rapidly extended up the elevator shaft after an explosion in the basement of the Atlanta, Georgia building. “At least three persons were killed, a dozen were injured, and $200,000 property damage was caused by a fire that raged through the five-story Cable Piano Company building in the heart of Atlanta’s downtown business section. Flames swept quickly up through an elevator shaft to all floors of the structure following an explosion of undetermined origin in the basement. Firemen finally brought them under control after a terrific struggle. Firefighters wearing gas masks to combat dense smoke brought the bodies of a man and two women from the fifth floor, which was occupied by the Atlanta Conservatory of Music. Firefighters searching through the dense smoke for trapped survivors reported the body of a man on the top floor but were unable to bring it out until they were equipped with gas masks. It was feared other victims might have been trapped in the building, the flames had shot up and cut off the escape of occupants before they were hardly aware the building was on fire. Several spectacular rescues were made. One woman clung to a window ledge on the fourth floor for several minutes until firefighters maneuvered a ladder to bring her down. A music teacher jumped from her studio on an upper floor to the roof of an adjoining building and suffered a leg fracture. The others injured were less seriously hurt.”
On 11/20/1850 the Michigan Central Freight Building and its contents were destroyed by an incendiary fire in Detroit, Michigan.