People in Plunge town after the great fire. Courtesy of Yad Vashem.
In 1871, a devastating fire swept through Šeduva, leaving more than 400 families homeless overnight. The fire destroyed the homes of both Jewish and Lithuanian residents, reducing them to ashes. An eye-witness set the events to paper with a quivering hand:
"On July 5 a fire started and consumed more than 150 of our city's homes, down to the foundation, and hundreds of families were left naked and possessionless, having been unable to salvage any of their items or property, and that which had been rescued in time was later consumed by fire out on the town streets."
Residents of neighboring shtetls rushed to aid the victims, many of whom had suffered similar tragedies before. Jewish communities in Panevėžys, Šiauliai, Šiaulėnai, Šakiai, Kėdainiai, Josvainiai, Seredžius, Dotnuva, and other locations provided help in the form of money, bread, and other essentials.
Šeduva experienced at least five major fires in the 19th century, leaving its residents in despair and agony. There were also fires in the interwar period, fortunately of a smaller scale.