Largest fire losses in the United States

 

 

Loss in Year Fire Occurred

Adjusted Loss
in 2012 Dollars

1. The World Trade Center
New York City, New York
September 11, 2001

$33.4 billion

$43.3 billion

2. San Francisco Earthquake and Fire
San Francisco, California
April 18, 1906

(See Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco for more information on this disaster.)

$350 million

$8.9 billion

3. Great Chicago Fire *
Chicago, Illinois
October 8-9, 1871

$168 million

$3.2 billion

4. Oakland Fire Storm
(wildland/urban interface)
Oakland, California
October 20, 1991

$1.5 billion

$2.5 billion

5. The Southern California Firestorm
San Diego County, California
October 20, 2007

$1.8 billion

$2.0 billion

6. Great Boston Fire
Boston, Massachusetts
November 9, 1872

$75 million

$1.4 billion

7. Polyolefin Plant
Pasadena, Texas
October 23, 1989

$750 million

$1.4 billion

8. "Cerro Grande" Wildland Fire
(wildland/urban interface)
Los Alamos, New Mexico
May 4, 2000

$1.0 billion

$1.3 billion

9. "Cedar" Wildland Fire
Julian, California
October 25, 2003

$1.1 billion

$1.3 billion

10. Baltimore Conflagration
Baltimore, Maryland
February 7, 1904

$50 million

$1.3 billion

11. "Old" Wildland Fire
San Bernardino, California
October 25, 2003

$975 million

$1.2 billion

12. Los Angeles Civil Disturbance
Los Angeles, California
April 29 - May 1, 1992

$567 million

$928 million

13. Power Plant
(auto manufacturing complex)
Dearborn, Michigan
February 1, 1999

$650 million

 

$894 million

 

14. Southern California November Wildfire**
Sacramento, California
November 13, 2008

$800 million

$853 million

15. "Laguna Beach Fire"
(wildland/urban interface)
Orange County, California
October 27, 1993

$528 million

$838 million

16. Textile Mill
Methuen, Massachusetts
December 11, 1995

$500 million

$752 million

17. U.S.S. Lafayette
(formerly S.S. Normandie ocean liner)
New York, New York
February 9, 1942

$53 million

$746 million

18. S.S. Grandcamp and Chemical Co. Plant
Texas City, Texas
April 16, 1947

$67 million

$689 million

19. Petroleum Refinery
Norco, Louisiana
May 5, 1988

$330 million

$640 million

20. Cargo plane in-flight fire
Near Newburgh, New York
September 5, 1996

$395 million

$578 million

21. Great Fire of New York
New York, New York
December 16, 1835

$26 million

$576 million

22. Wildland Fire**
Florida
May – June, 1998

$395 million

$555 million

23. One Meridian Plaza
(high-rise office building)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 23, 1991

$325 million

$547 million

24. Forest Fire
Cloquet, Minnesota
October 12, 1918

$35 million

$532 million

25. Apollo Spacecraft Cabin
Cape Kennedy, Florida
January 27, 1967

$75 million

$515 million

Loss estimates are from NFPA records. Adjustment to 2012 dollars done using the Consumer Price Index, including Census Bureau estimates for historical times. The list is limited to fires with some reliable dollar-loss estimate that occur in or over the U.S.A.

*Each year Fire Prevention Week falls in the week of October 9th, and thus the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 is dedicated to encouraging fire safety. The National Fire Protection Association has been the proud sponsor of Fire Prevention Week ever since it was first proclaimed in 1922 by President Warren G. Harding.

**Includes multiple fires.

Updated 9/13

 

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