Newspapers called it "The Greatest Calamity in the History of the West." In 1895 it was the biggest thing that had ever happened in Butte, Montana. It inspired songs, generated a yearly observance, turned ordinary citizens into heroes and turned one into a murderer. It also marked a turning point in Butte's development as "The Richest Hill on Earth."
It was the first in a series of violent tragedies that would continue to plague Butte and its residents. As a result, details of the explosion have been lost to all but a few historians. Montana PBS is pleased to bring this forgotten story to viewers. Hidden Fire: The Great Butte Explosion documents the 1895 disaster and parallels the work of the men who fought urban fire 100 years ago and those who confront it today.
DVD, 60 minutes.