Specifically, the Boston Fire of 1872 was as bad as it was because they had to have _people_ pull the steam powered pump wagons, as the horses were so sick they couldn't stand up in their stalls, much less work. Also, caused a Panic in 1873. Affected warfare. Etc.
File under things that would have made history so much more entertaining to a morbid tweener, if only because it completely horrified a bunch of the rest of the classroom.