The William Todd & Company Limited department store occupied about four-fifths of a large city block fronting onto O’Connell Street, between William Street and Thomas Street in Limerick city, where Brown Thomas stands today.
On Tuesday, 25 August 1959, at 11am, a fire was noticed and reported in the building. The Todds and the neighbouring buildings was quickly evacuated. By 12:30 the entire block was a blazing inferno. The cause was a fuse box in the basement of the drapery store which had burst from the wall.
By the end of the day, Todds, Burtons, Liptons, Goodwins and Cesars were completely gutted. While the buildings of Gayware, Cromers and Nicholas were badly damaged, they were able to be restored.
We have previously posted about Todds Fire with a first hand description of the event in Limerick.
Eugene Barry generously donated a collection of rare and previously unseen photographs of Todds Fire to Limerick’s Life, below are a selection of these photographs.
The Crowds Gather as News Spreads of Todds Fire
Thomas Street and a Todds Van
The Fire Brigade Arrive
William Street Crowds Get a Shock
The Earl Connolly of Limerick Leader in the Tuxedo
It has been said that the tyres on these bicycles popped from the heat from the fire.
Last Ditch Effort to Save Merchandise
William Street Inferno
It was reported that a portion of the fire engine on William street melted from the heat.
The Facade of Todds on O’Connell Street Collapses
The force of the building collapse can be seen here with the mens coats blowing outwards.
Nothing Left to Save
Close-Up of the Firemen who Never Gave Up
Little William Street, Awash with Debris
A Helicopter Views the Scarred Remains