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How Chicago Fire Started

On October 8, 1871, at about eight-thirty in the evening, a lantern in Mrs. O’Leary’s barn, presumably kicked over by her cow, ignited the great Chicago fire. The woman was milking her cow; and there was a little lamp of oil, a little flickering flame. The cow kicked over the lamp; and the flame kindled a wisp of hay, and another wisp, until all the hay in the stable was on fire, and the next building was on fire, and the next and the next!

The fire spread over the river to the main part of Chicago and swept on until within a territory one mile wide and three miles long, there were only two buildings standing. the little flame from that lamp had laid Chicago in ashes!

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