Quote: It was bedlam, pandemonium and hell rolled into one.

– Eyewitness

On April 18, 1906, an earthquake and subsequent fires devastated San Francisco, California, leaving more than 3,000 people dead and destroying more than 28,000 buildings. The earthquake occurred at 5:13 a.m. with its epicentre offshore of San Francisco, which then had a population of approximately 400,000 people. The greatest devastation resulted from the fires that quickly followed the quake. The initial tremors destroyed the city’s water mains, leaving firefighters with no means of combating the growing blaze, which burned for several days and consumed much of the city. Despite the utter devastation, San Francisco quickly recovered from the earthquake, and the destruction actually allowed planners to create a new and improved city.