Home History 20 Interesting Great Chicago Fire Facts

20 Interesting Great Chicago Fire Facts

by Sankalan Baidya
20 Interesting Great Chicago Fire Facts

A great wall of fire approaching fast and destroying everything on its way – is that something you will like to see? This is precisely what people of Chicago saw and experienced back in 1871. This uncontrolled fire went on a rampage, penning down a story of horror and misery for the Chicagoites. What started the fire? How long did it continue destruction? How was it controlled? We are going to find the answers to all these questions here in this 20 interesting Great Chicago Fire facts list.

Interesting Great Chicago Fire Facts: 1-10

1. The Chicago Fire of 1871 aka Great Chicago Fire started on 8th of October, 1871 and burned till 10th of October, 1871.

2. It was estimated that around 300 people lost their lives because of the fire.

3. Apart from human casualties, the fire damaged thousands of building and several other properties. The total damage was estimated to be $200 million.

4. Back in those days wooden buildings were abundant in Chicago. Sidewalks and streets too had no scarcity of wooden structures.

5. The fire started at night from a barn that was owned by Patrick O’Leary and his wife Catherine. The barn was located at Chicago’s southwest side at 137 DeKoven Street.

6. As per legends, it was the family cow of Patrick and Catherine that was responsible for the fire. Stories floated that the cow knocked down a lighted lantern which started the blaze.

7. Patrick and Catherine were questioned but Catherine denied the charge. So, the true source of the fire is not known till date and will never be unearthed.

8. Among other theories, the cause of fire has been blamed on humans and comets but none of them have been proved.

9. The fire became uncontrolled very soon and rapidly moved to the east and north of Chicago.

10. The fire continued to burn through 9th of October forming a massive wall speeding at 160 kilometers an hour.

Interesting Great Chicago Fire Facts: 11-20

11. The speeding massive fire wall created tornado-style winds and the tremendous heat turned the beach sands into glass.

12. Even worse, the fire wall even managed to jump over and cross the Green Bay waters and played havoc in a number of cities there.

13. The immense heat and energy produced by the fire managed to toss houses and rail cars into air.

14. With an estimated 300 dead and 100,000 homeless, the fire left behind a destruction trail of 4 miles long and 1 mile wide.

15. Over 17,000 homes and structures were completely destroyed.

16. With the devastating fire Chicago saw lawlessness and mass looting, forcing the government to introduce martial law.

17. Companies of soldiers were sent to Chicago to prevent looting and other problems with effect from 11th of October.

18. While most of the infrastructure of Chicago was destroyed by the fire, the transport system was left relatively unharmed that helped with the reconstruction phase.

19. During the reconstruction period, Chicago experienced a massive growth in population as well as economic growth.

20. When the fire broke out, the population of Chicago was around 324,000 and by next 5 years, the population shot up to 500,000.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

Hey Wait! There's More...


jaboino December 15, 2016 - 11:17 pm


ryan nelson May 12, 2017 - 1:26 am

these facts are not descriptive, but very easy

Sankalan Baidya May 12, 2017 - 3:49 pm

Thank you.

DaVionna July 11, 2017 - 9:00 pm

May 12 when u commented was my birthday 🙂

Sankalan Baidya July 11, 2017 - 11:25 pm

Ah, I see. Belated Happy Birthday…

Da'Vionna July 11, 2017 - 8:57 pm

ya mama! JK but good facts ugly 😉

Caden .R November 14, 2017 - 8:36 pm

Very Helpful Facts

marcus January 10, 2018 - 2:32 am

These facts is helping me with my homework

marcus January 10, 2018 - 2:33 am

These facts is helping me with my homework and it is helpful too

Myker January 12, 2018 - 10:30 pm

this is helping me with my response

Tyler Dahl January 20, 2018 - 1:04 am

My grandpa said that his grandfather passed away in that fire. Interesting facts

Megan Webber April 23, 2019 - 5:59 am

Interesting facts indeed.

eric February 14, 2018 - 12:48 am

thank you for the informion

Jadon.B November 2, 2018 - 9:17 pm

This is awesome I known some people from the fire thanks for the facts sankalan

Jadon.B November 2, 2018 - 9:18 pm

I like this and if you can comment back i would appreciate it thanks

Sankalan Baidya November 2, 2018 - 10:52 pm

Jadon, we are glad that you liked our article on the topic. We really appreciate your presence on our website. Thank you! Did you know that we are prepping up for a new affiliate website that will have a collection of great gift items? We will post the link to the website soon and we will love to see you on our new site!

Jadon.B November 8, 2018 - 10:00 pm

yay im excited cant wait

Jadon.B November 8, 2018 - 10:02 pm

thanks for all the fun facts about the Chicago fire my Freinds and family love this website

Jadon.B November 8, 2018 - 10:06 pm

thanks for commenting back these facts are awesome and I would like to know if you can do a fact page about youtubers thanks

Sankalan Baidya November 10, 2018 - 12:02 am

Youtubers? You have any specific Youtuber in mind or do you want a general set of facts about youtubers?

Jadon.B December 4, 2018 - 7:50 pm

Only about Markiplier please

Sankalan Baidya December 6, 2018 - 9:03 pm


Jadon.B December 4, 2018 - 7:51 pm

Only Markiplier please thanks

Jadon.B December 13, 2018 - 8:43 pm

Hows It going So Far?

ddc February 14, 2019 - 9:29 pm

i love this site!!!

noyb April 5, 2019 - 6:02 am

thanks. now I know more

JJ May 10, 2019 - 7:23 pm

This is a major event!


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