7 Devastating Facts About The Chicago Fire Of 1871

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7 Devastating Facts About The Chicago Fire Of 1871

7 Devastating Facts About The Chicago Fire Of 1871

The Chicago Fire of 1871, also known as the Great Chicago Fire, raged from the night of October 8th through the morning of October 10th, 1871. The destruction was devastating and widespread, from hundreds of deaths to millions of dollars in damage, the iconic fire served as a grim understanding of the lack fire safety and overcrowding within tight city limits.


1. The exact cause of the fire was never nailed down. Originally, it was thought that a cow on the property of Patrick and Catherine O’Leary at 137 DeKoven Street on the city’s southwest side was to blame after kicking over a lantern. However, other theories claim that it was started by people and even a meteor. Ultimately the fire likely started in or near the O’Leary barn.

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2. Even though the exact body count was 125, it’s estimated that 200-300 people total were never accounted for.

3. In addition to the masses left unaccounted for, another 100,000-300,000 of Chicago’s dwellers were left without homes.

4. The affected area was an incredible 4-mile long and 1-mile wide part of the Windy City.


5. The estimated cost of damage reached an astonishing $222 million, which was about one-third of the entire city’s valuation.



6. The Chicago fire was not the only fire that day though it was the most popularized. Three others were blazing that very day along Lake Michigan, one of them, Peshtigo Fire, killed at least 1200 people and charred 1.5 million acres of land.

7. Three of the main reasons for the fire burning out of control were because firefighters were already fatigued from having fought a fire the day, they underestimated the potential of this fire was underestimated, and the area was in an extreme dry spell at the time.


Related topics chicago, Chicago Fire of 1871, cow, fire, The Cause of the Great Chicago Fire, when was the Chicago fire, Windy City
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