The unknown illness that Goya suffered in the autumn of 1792 left him weak for some months and deaf for the rest of his life. It also marked a profound change in his painting as he began to incorporate fantasy and imagination - "fancy and invention" as he himself said - into his art. During his convalescence he worked on small images on tinplate that he later presented at the Academy of San Fernando where they were praised by the critics. The twelve small paintings can be clearly divided into two series. One is on bullfighting subjects - Pase de capa or El gayumbo for example - and the other is more dramatic and presents a sad, gloomy world in images such as Prison Scene, the Shipwreck or this work. The fire takes place at night. A huge mass of people crowd together on the right of the composition and we can see some of the victims who have been pulled from the fire. The scene is enveloped in darkness, broken by the white and reddish tones of the fire, creating an enormous mass of grey smoke. The tension can be felt in the air and the sensation of movement created by the figures trying to escape the tragedy is notable. The white tones of the clothes brighten a painting which is dominated by the drama of a fire.