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The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 was one of the largest disasters in American history Practically overnight the great city of Chicago was destroyed Before the fire there was a large drought causing everything to be dry and flammable then a fire broke out in the OLearys barn and spread throughout the city Many attempts were made to put out the fire but there were too many errors and problems in the beginning After the fire many people were left homeless and had to help build their city again Before the fire broke out on Sunday night October 8 1871 there had been a large drought causing everything to be dry and extremely flammable Many fires had been breaking out in Chicago Records show that in 1870 the fire fighters went to nearly 600 fires On Saturday night there had been a large fire that destroyed about four blocks and lasted for 16 hours Another reason why everything in Chicago was so flammable was because almost the entire city was made out of wood It was a lot worse in the middle class and poor sections of the town 1 p19 Just about every house was made out of wood Even buildings that claimed to be fire proof had wood roofs covered with tar The richer part of town had stone and brick homes but wooden interiors wooden stables and wooden storage buildings 2 p81 Chicago was built on marshland and every time it rained the city flooded so to help this problem the roads were made out of wood and elevated above the waterline The d ay the fire started there were over 55 miles of pine-block street and 600 miles of wooden sidewalks Chicago in 1871 was a city ready to burn according to Jim Murphy author of The Great Fire 1 p18 It was Sunday October 8th about 845pm when Daniel Peg Leg
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