Completed in 1855 the Smithsonian Castle would be the first of many great museums on the National Mall. Initially it was a working residence as well as a place to share knowledge. Despite precautions a fire broke out in 1865 destroying many irreplaceable works of art and tomes of knowledge. William Stimpson, a naturalist who was cataloging items collected on his journey to the North Pacific, was living and working out of the North tower when the fire broke out. His office was left locked and the fireman who raced to extinguish the blaze took liberties with Stimpson's whiskey stock which he had on hand to preserve specimens. Much to their dismay they learned the whiskey had sulphate copper mixed into it which made the drink deadly (but helped with the preservation of specimens).
When ingested sulphate of copper irritates the intestinal tract along with burning in the chest, nausea, diarrhea, headache, and damage to vital organs. Fortunately for the firemen vomiting is also an effect and they lived to see the next day.