A single fire hydrant in San Francisco survived the massive 1906 earthquake and helped firefighters save the Mission district
On April 18, 1906, a massive earth quake struck San Francisco. The blast itself lasted for 42 seconds, but the majority of the city's damage was caused by 30 fires that erupted from broken gas lines. Unfortunately, water mains broke along with these gas lines, causing a water shortage.
The city's firefighters were in a tight spot, but one hydrant was still usable. In the Dolores Park neighborhood, a single fire hydrant still ran. Hundreds of residents pulled fire engines up the Dolores hill to access the hydrant. After a seven hour battle, the firefighters saved the neighborhood from total destruction.
Nearly 80% of San Francisco was destroyed that day and 3000 people lost their lives, but this one hydrant in Dolores Park managed to save part of the city. To honor it, the hydrant was painted gold, and each year on the anniversary of the earthquake, the city's Fire Chief gives a fresh coat of paint.