At the time, New York had a low population, many of the houses were deserted and empty, and the conditions were dry. As a result, when the flames began, they spread rapidly and tore through the poorer sections of New York.
While nobody knows how the fire had started, some theorized that it was caused by the Continental Army, though there remains no legitimate proof. George Washington had considered setting fire to the city as he retreated from it, to prevent the city from falling into the hands of the British Army, but the Continental Congress had voted against it.
After Washington's retreat, the Assassin Connor worked with his contact Jamie Colley to stop the spread of smallpox in the West District. Connor uncovered that mercenaries hired by the Templars were spreading the disease to vacate the homeless from the area. He burned infected blankets, killed diseased dogs, and carried sick civilians to be inoculated. The mercenaries came to attack Connor and Colley, but they defeated them. Afterwards, Connor invited Colley to join the Colonial Brotherhood of Assassins.
- It was originally intended for Connor be present in New York during the event, but it proved too difficult for Ubisoft to program civilians to react to the burning parts of the city, so it was left out of the game. Due to the linearity of Sequence 8, the player avoids seeing the burned areas of the map until the game moves forward to 1777.
- Several places seen in Assassin's Creed Rogue such as Fort Arsenal, Hope Jensen's Mansion and the Fighting Cocks tavern are no longer seen in Assassin's Creed III, possibly destroyed by the Great Fire of New York.