White House Sketches
Famous White House Fires
August 24, 1814 and December 24, 1929
The most famous fire in White House history was the result of hostilities with Great Britain, begun in 1812, culminating in the invasion of Washington on August 24, 1814. British troops entered the defenseless city, where they ate a dinner prepared for the president at the White House, and then torched the building, destroying all but the outer walls.
During a Christmas party at the White House on December 24, 1929, a fire broke out in the West Wing that destroyed the executive offices. President Herbert Hoover left the party to direct the fire fighting and later sent all the children who attended the event a toy fire engine.