The Great Fire Of Smyrna


This was a great fire which destroyed most of the Smyrna port city in late 1922. According to reports from eyewitnesses, the fire started on September 13th and continued until September 22nd when it was put off. The fire started just a few days after Turkish forces regained control of the city, which marked the end the War that lasted for over three years. According reports from Greeks and Armenian sources, Turkish soldiers had begun to kill the Greek and Armenian residents before the fire began. The great fire of Smyrna completely burned down the Armenian and Greek territories of the city but Jewish and Muslim territories were spared.


Origin of the Great Fire of Smyrna


The origin of the great fire of Smyrna has remained a subject of debate until now. Every ethnic group has remained to point figures on the other. This has grown enmity among the Greeks, Armenian and the Turkish. According to reports from Armenian and Greek sources, the fire was started by the Turkish troops who are accused of setting fire on Greeks and Armenian businesses and homes while reports from traditional Turkish source argue that the fire was started by the Armenian and Greeks. However, reports from eyewitness sources such as Miss Minnie Mills, who worked as dean of the Inter-Collegiate Institute, shows that the fire was started by Turkish soldiers. Miss Minnie Mills claimed to have seen Turkish troops carrying petroleum tins into the houses before the outbreak of the fire. This report was as well confirmed by Mrs King Birge, the wife of an American missionary.


Aftermath of the Great Fire of Smyrna


The great fire of Smyrna is approximated to have caused between ten thousands and hundred thousand casualties and over hundred thousand refugees. The refugees from the great fire of Smyrna were force to live under harsh conditions for almost two weeks. American officials made attempts to organize relief for refugees but were reported to have been robbed and shot dead by Turkish troops. On the dockside, troops often robbed fleeing refugees, beat some and arrested those who failed to comply with their orders. However, there were soldiers who were well-behaved and played significant role in helping aged women and also trying to maintain order among the refugee. Nevertheless, these acts were nullified by series of inhuman practices carried out by the merciless arrogant soldiers who beat and even robe the refugees.