Community Photos & Videos Police & Fire

Stephen Puleo’s Guided Tour of 1919 Great Molasses Flood Site on North End’s Commercial St.

The National Fire Protection Association features Stephen Puleo, author of “Dark Tide,” who gives a guided tour in the video above of one of Boston’s most famous disaster sites – the Great Molasses Flood of 1919. The tragic event on Commercial St. claimed 21 lives and leveled a vast swath of the city’s North End neighborhood.

The aftermath
Shortly after the flood, the Boston Building Department began requiring that all calculations of engineers and architects be filed with their plans and that stamped drawings be signed, a practice that became standard across the country. The molasses case influenced the adoption of engineering certification laws in all states, as well as the requirement that all plans for major structures be sealed by a registered professional engineer before a municipality or state would issue a building permit. Interestingly, the Boston molasses flood did for building construction regulations nationwide what a subsequent Boston disaster, the great Coconut Grove nightclub fire, did for fire code laws.

Read more about the flood at

Stephen Puleo will discuss the flood during an education session on Monday, June 13, at NFPA’s Conference & Expo in Boston.