20070523/芝加哥大火——一个城市的灭顶之灾

魏道培/1871年10月8日21点45分,芝加哥的星期天夜晚,一头倔强的奶牛踢翻了放在草堆上的油灯,制造了惨绝人寰震惊世界的火灾。30小时的恶梦几乎摧毁了当时美国发展最快的城市,据官方统计,这次大火使10万人无家可归,300人丧命,死伤牲畜不计其数,间接损失更无法估算。

历史就是警钟

美国历史学家认为,芝加哥发生这场大劫难绝非偶然,没有那头肇事的奶牛,芝加哥大火仍然不可避免,因为芝加哥城市本身已经埋下了严重的火灾隐患。芝加哥大多数房屋都是用木材建造,并且当地人用干柴煮饭,每年临近隆冬季节,人们都会收集柴草准备过冬。当时,天气异常干燥,接连数十天滴雨未下,酿造一场大火已具备了足够的条件,芝加哥发生大火只差一颗火星。

早在芝加哥大火之前,世界上特别是西方国家火灾发生十分频繁。1666年,伦敦发生一场大火,大火燃烧持续了四天四夜才被控制住,六分之五的伦敦城变成了断壁残垣,数百年的著名建筑都被焚毁,1.3万间房屋被烧毁,损失逾6千万美元。1812年,莫斯科也曾发生过一场大火,烟雾一直蔓延到了法国境内,除教堂和宫殿外,另有1.184万幢房屋被毁。1842年5月5日,另一场大火无情的光顾了德国汉堡城,大火持续了四天,三分之一的汉堡房屋被大火吞没。1835年,美国纽约发生了一场大火,火势从百老汇以东和以南直扑曼哈顿,连续烧掉648间店铺。世界上最奢华的商品交易所、巨大的荷兰教堂都未能幸免,那次大火损失2000万美元的财产。接二连三的火灾成为头等灾难。

芝加哥大火是人类历史上最为惨重的火灾,其损失是不能用美元或房屋多少来估计的。具体统计数据也仅仅是按照当时被焚毁的房屋和家具的价值来计算,间接损失一律没有记入。即使这样,按当时最保守的货币价格,其损失也不低于10亿美元。死亡人数是按照找到的尸首计算出来的,更多的人则认为,许多死者是没有统计在内,诸如当时流动人口尚未登记,还有许多人还在睡梦中就窒息死亡,并且烧得连尸骨都没有了,所以也没有被计算在内。更有甚者,有关当局在统计人数时,并没有将来自意大利、印度和中国的劳工死亡人数计算在内。

堆满干柴的城市

芝加哥当时有6万多幢木质建筑,构成了一座无规则的大都会,连接各建筑的街道全用木栏栅圈围着。从市中心区向四面延伸数英里的民宅也均为木质结构,并且这些房宅外围堆满了冬用燃柴,粮仓也均用木栏栅圈围,焦干的秋叶铺天盖地,各木材场、碾磨房、家具厂等到处是木屑刨花。干旱的秋季已使土地爆裂,求雨若渴。主管该市消防工作的罗伯特·威廉主任整天处于高度紧张状态。芝加哥消防总部共有185名消防队员,17辆马拉救火车,分驻在有35万人口、36平方英里的市区各消防站。芝加哥市议院曾否决了罗伯特关于增加消防器材和其他设备的建议。

那晚约八点三十分,主妇凯特·奥利尔瑞女士提着马灯来到牲口棚。她来照料一头生病的奶牛。凯特把灯放在牲口棚内地板上,这头焦躁的奶牛将马灯踩翻在地,燃油顿时迸射浸入地板和干草,火苗立刻串上牲口棚顶,凯特惊呼求救。邻居赶来时,大火已将整个牲口棚燃起,被烧痛的牲口狂奔乱叫起来。

在此之前,芝加哥城里一些重要位置已设置了新型报警器。为防止孩童玩耍,各消防警报器均上锁,附近的人家掌握着钥匙。火灾发生后,居民立即开锁报警,可由于报警器安装后没有测试,存在严重故障,消防总部未及时接到报警。附近一支消防队虽然得知后立即赶到,但力量十分有限。

这时,凯特的牲口棚已经大火熊熊,火势乘着西南风将牲口棚抬了起来,火场迅速扩大。附近的一间库房、一家油漆店立刻着火,形成一堵巨大的火墙朝东北方向直扑过去。突然,火场的北面和东面大约四五个街区也开始着火。人们掉着眼泪,只能看着自己的家园被焚毁。熊熊大火震颤着男女老少的心。

没有过多久,火势逼近了人口最稠密的中心区。火星由天而降,高大的太平洋饭店房顶首先起火。远远望去,这幢大楼就象一把巨大的火炬。由于没有云梯,消防车只能望火兴叹,眼睁睁的看着它燃烧,而无力相救。紧接着,商业大厦和芝加哥商会大厦也烧着了。在燃烧着的大楼下,人们疯狂地奔逃着,拥挤着,烈火下汇集成一条人流。紧接着,芝加哥歌剧院、第一国家银行也烧着了。随之,芝加哥邮政总局大楼也成了巨大的火炬。在市中心区的法院塔上,一消防员看见了大火,却错误地判断了火场的中心位置。他向夜班报务员叫道:“大火已经从运河港和赫尔斯特德街烧过来了!”报务员通知了消防总部。总部立刻将所有消防队员派往距火场一英里远的角落,等到消防员们看清整个火场时,已没有什么火场中心位置,芝加哥已陷入一片火海。

仅仅40分钟后,远处的芝加哥水厂也开始冒起大火,全城的供水系统中断,供水随即停止。此时,许多人正跳入水厂的巨大水池,以躲过被烧死的命运。大火烧到水厂时,呆在水中的人们开始惊慌起来,一些人开始跳出水池,然后向远处的伊利诺斯河奔去。大火步步进逼下,芝加哥许多消防队员不得不放弃救火,因为他们已无救火的水源。

面对如此猛烈的火势,许多人没有做任何准备,被搞得措手不及。当时正吹西南风,大火借着风力,疯狂地扑向附近的一切易燃物。不久,人们已无法辨别风向,感觉到风从各个方向吹来。所以当时有人称,这不是一般的风,而是龙卷风。龙卷风将火焰抬上天然后洒向四面八方。

无情的大火又吞掉了两个街区,热浪很快形成一股时速达70英里的飓风。大约晚上十点,火场已蔓至凯特家北面第六街区的圣保罗天主教堂,接着附近的贝特哈姆面粉厂和贮有1000捆约50万平米木材的家具厂着火了。巨大的火焰迅速蔓延,肆虐街区,吞噬一切。紧接着,火势迅速蔓延开来。一户户人家在半夜被惊醒,携老扶幼弃家逃走。由于大多数建筑物都是木质结构,火势所到之处,所有建筑物就象镰刀割草般纷纷燃烧垮掉。又过了20分钟,芝加哥就有二十个街区的1500幢建筑着火,500户家庭不得不弃家逃离,约有6万人逃离了芝加哥。当时,大街上挤满了装载各种行李的四轮马车、四处奔逃的人群和前往火场的消防队员。

这时,芝加哥处在一片混乱惊恐之中。随着火势分两股向北蔓延,形成了一片火海。十一点三十分,火势已蔓延过大河,吞没了刚刚竣工的帕美利公共马车马棚。在滚滚浓烟下,空中飞起的无数木削火星不断溅落,所到之处无不播下新火种。几英里外的男人和小孩都赶来助战,但效果越来越小。

历史教训岂能忘记

人们完全低估了这场火灾的破坏力。凶狠的烈焰已将火车的车箱、车轮烧变形,如一条条巨龙的残骸一样坍塌下去,丑陋不堪。附近一大堆生铁已熔化成一滩红色的铁水。半夜时分,芝加哥煤气站爆炸,随之引起附近的弹药库和下水道里泄出的甲烷气体一连串爆炸。法院塔燃烧起来,上面的大钟也被震得叮哨响,随之倒塌。

芝加哥消防局罗伯特主任正在无望的指挥救火,可怜的救火车也只能是杯水车薪,远处的大河无法扑灭如此熊熊大火。芝加哥成为火城,附近小溪中的流水也沸腾起来。大火已无法控制,火势随着煤气站的冲天火焰形成一股强大的回旋火浪,疯狂地向高密度的住宅区和商业中心扑去。紧接着,拉萨尔街金融中心的石建筑被吞没,石料纷纷脱落,铜梁铁柱迅速熔化,汇成一股令人毛骨悚然的金属液流。救火员不得不且战且退。

同时,另一地的消防员已疲惫不堪,正在全力奔赴法院大厦抢救。大约凌晨一点三十分,一根火木如投枪般飞来穿透法院大楼附近的监狱,使其迅速燃烧起来。在底楼内关押的350名罪犯一下放了出来,他们立刻趁火打劫了附近一家珠宝店,然后逃之夭夭。

大火已达极限。在商业区,强大的冲天火光足以使20英里外的人阅读报纸。在北郊的市民站在高处根据空中的火势发现有100余幢高大建筑在燃烧。石建筑只需数分钟便被烧成一堆碎石。

《芝加哥论坛报》主编乔·麦迪尔正在全力指挥抢救他的印刷厂,雇员们在炽热的高温下拼命工作,记者在发烫的桌上写作。但是在出印这一期报纸前,印刷机就被熔化了。工人们纷纷逃离车间。

为了能够阻止大火蔓延,消防队员炸掉了两幢大建筑,但没有奏效。横飞的火木反而助长了火势。此时,有10余万人在惊叫、咒骂、祈祷,蹂躏和抢劫这座大难中的城市。芝加哥的425名警力已不堪重负,无法拯救这一切。成千上万的市民被逼得跳进了密执安湖,许多人全身浸泡在水中达几小时之久。另一些人把他们的妻子、孩子和财产用沙厚厚地盖住或泡在水塘中,只露出眼睛和鼻子,以免遭火焚。约有3万人躲在林肯公园的公墓后。

第二天,大火仍继续燃烧,吞食着大厦、工厂、住宅、商店,更多人被逼入湖中。湖对岸一百英里处的荷兰城也热浪滚滚,市民们的头发被烤焦。从哈里森街到密执安街,整整三十个小时的大火将三分之二的芝加哥城夷为平地。许多人都以为,作为美国中西部最繁华的大都市,芝加哥将被从地球上抹去。

星期一夜晚,余火尚未燃尽,一场渴望已久的大雨倾盆而下,浇灭了大火,悲剧才告结束,2124公顷面积的市中区仅30小时就变成了一片焦士。星期二早晨,人们看见的是:一群群哭泣嚎叫中的人们、惨不忍睹的废墟。

沉沦还是奋起?作为当之无愧的芝加哥城,它擂响了重建家园的战鼓。不久,满载食物、衣服、建材、工具的列车抵达。当天中午,芝加哥农贸市场便在废墟上开业了。下午,《芝加哥论坛报》报社用原始的方法印出了火灾后第一期报纸。

尽管这场震惊世界的大悲剧已时过一百余年,但它留给后人的教训和警示却是非常深刻的。火灾是毁灭人类财富和生命的恶魔,它使我们不得不正视火灾的危险和危害,引起人们对消防工作的高度重视。为了让人们记住惨痛的教训,芝加哥市政当局决定,他们每年10月都举行芝加哥大火纪念日,让人们永远铭记历史教训,让灾难不再重演。

《新安全》 (2004年 第十一期)

http://www.people.com.cn/GB/paper2515/13371/1198468.html

Wikipedia–Great Chicago Fire

The Great Chicago Fire was a conflagration that burned from Sunday October 8 to early Tuesday October 10, 1871, killing hundreds and destroying about four square miles in Chicago, Illinois. Though the fire was one of the largest U.S. disasters of the 19th century, the rebuilding that began almost immediately spurred Chicago’s development into one of the most populous and economically important American and international cities.

The fire’s origin

The fire started at about 9 p.m. on Sunday, October 8, in or around a small shed that bordered the alley behind 137 DeKoven Street. The traditional account of the origin of the fire is that it was started by a cow kicking over a lantern in the barn owned by Patrick and Catherine O’Leary, but Michael Ahern, the Chicago Republican reporter who created the cow story, admitted in 1893 that he had made it up because he thought it would make colorful copy.[1]

It was aided by the city’s overuse of wood for building, the strong northwesterly winds, and a drought before the fire. The city also made fatal errors by not reacting soon enough and citizens by not caring about the fire when it began. The firefighters were also exhausted from fighting a fire that happened the day before.

Spread of the blaze

When the fire broke out, neighbors hurried to protect the O’Learys’ house in front of the cowshed from the blaze; the house actually did survive with only minor damage. However, the city’s fire department didn’t receive the first alarm until 9:40 p.m., when a fire alarm was pulled at a pharmacy. The fire department was alerted when the fire was still small, but the guard on duty did not respond as he thought that the glow in the sky was from the smoldering flames of a fire the day before. When the blaze got bigger, the guard realized that there actually was a new fire and sent firefighters, but in the wrong direction.

Soon the fire had spread to neighboring frame houses and sheds. Superheated winds drove flaming brands northeastward. People still did not worry, even though in fact they were in danger.

When the fire engulfed a tall church west of the Chicago River, the flames crossed the south branch of the Chicago River. Helping the fire spread were firewood in the closely packed wooden buildings, ships lining the river, the city’s elevated wood-plank sidewalks and roads, and the commercial lumber and coal yards along the river. The size of the blaze generated extremely strong winds and heat, which ignited rooftops far ahead of the actual flames.

The attempts to stop the fire were unsuccessful. The mayor had even called surrounding cities for help, but by that point the fire was simply too large to contain. When the fire destroyed the waterworks, just north of the Chicago River, the city’s water supply was cut off, and the firefighters were forced to give up.

As the fire raged through the central business district, it destroyed hotels, department stores, Chicago’s City Hall, the opera house and theaters, churches and printing plants. The fire continued spreading northward, driving fleeing residents across bridges on the Chicago River. There was mass panic as the blaze jumped the river’s north branch and continued burning through homes and mansions on the city’s north side. Residents fled into Lincoln Park and to the shores of Lake Michigan, where thousands sought refuge from the flames.

The fire finally burned itself out, aided by diminishing winds and a light drizzle that began falling late on Monday night. From its origin at the O’Leary property, it had burned a path of nearly complete destruction of some 34 blocks to Fullerton Avenue on the north side.

Once the fire had ended, the smoldering remains were still too hot for a survey of the damage to be completed for days. Eventually it was determined that the fire destroyed an area about four miles (6 km) long and averaging 3/4 mile (1 km) wide, encompassing more than 2,000 acres (8 km?). Destroyed were more than 73 miles (120 km) of roads, 120 miles (190 km) of sidewalk, 2,000 lampposts, 17,500 buildings, and $222 million in property – about a third of the city’s valuation. Of the 300,000 inhabitants, 90,000 were left homeless. The fire was said by local newspapers to have been so fierce that it surpassed the damage done by Napoleon’s siege of Moscow in 1812. Remarkably, some buildings did survive the fire, such as the then-new Chicago Water Tower, which remains today as an unofficial memorial to the fire’s destructive power. It was one of just five public buildings and one ordinary bungalow spared by the flames within the disaster zone. The O’Leary home and Holy Family Church, the Roman Catholic congregation of the O’Leary family, were both saved by shifts in the wind direction that kept them outside the burnt district.

After the fire, 125 bodies were recovered. Final estimates of the fatalities ranged from 200-300, considered a small number for such a large fire. In later years, other disasters in the city would claim more lives: 571 died in the Iroquois Theater fire in 1903; and, in 1915, 835 died in the sinking of the Eastland excursion boat in the Chicago River. Yet the Great Chicago Fire remains Chicago’s most well-known disaster, for the magnitude of the destruction and the city’s subsequent recovery and growth.

Land speculators, such as Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard, and business owners quickly set about rebuilding the city. Donations of money, food, clothing and furnishings arrived quickly from across the nation. The first load of lumber for rebuilding was delivered the day the last burning building was extinguished. Only 22 years later, Chicago hosted more than 21 million visitors during the World’s Columbian Exposition. Another example of Chicago’s rebirth from the Great Fire ashes is the now famed Palmer House hotel. The original building burned to the ground in the fire just 13 days after its grand opening. Without hesitating, Potter Palmer secured a loan and rebuilt the hotel in a lot across the street from the original, proclaiming it to be “The World’s First Fireproof Building”.

In 1956, the remaining structures on the original O’Leary property were torn down for construction of the Chicago Fire Academy, a training facility for Chicago firefighters located at 558 W. DeKoven Street. A bronze sculpture of stylized flames entitled Pillar of Fire by sculptor Egon Weiner was erected on the point of origin in 1961.[2]

Questioning the fire

Catherine O’Leary was the perfect scapegoat: she was a woman, immigrant, and Catholic-–a combination which did not fare well in the political climate of the time in Chicago. This story was circulating in Chicago even before the flames had died out and was noted in the Chicago Tribune’s first post-fire issue. However, Michael Ahern, the reporter that came with the story would retract it in 1893, admitting that it was fabricated.[3]

More recently, amateur historian Richard Bales has come to believe it was actually started when Daniel “Pegleg” Sullivan, who first reported the fire, ignited some hay in the barn while trying to steal some milk. However, evidence recently reported in the Chicago Tribune by Anthony DeBartolo suggests Louis M. Cohn may have started the fire during a craps game. Cohn may also have admitted to starting the fire in a lost will, according to Alan Wykes in his 1964 book The Complete Illustrated Guide to Gambling.

An alternative theory, first suggested in 1882, is that the Great Chicago Fire was caused by a meteor shower. At a 2004 conference of the Aerospace Corporation and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, engineer and physicist Robert Wood suggested that the fire began when Biela’s Comet broke up over the Midwest and rained down below. That four large fires took place, all on the same day, all on the shores of Lake Michigan (see Related Events), suggests a common root cause. Eyewitnesses reported sighting spontaneous ignitions, lack of smoke, “balls of fire” falling from the sky, and blue flames. According to Wood, these accounts suggest that the fires were caused by the methane that is commonly found in comets.[citation needed]

Another possible explanation for the coincident conflagrations is that winds associated with the approach of a low-pressure weather system promoted the spread of fires in an area that was tinder-dry due to a prolonged drought.

Structures that survived the fire
-St. Michaels Church
-St. Ignatius College Preparatory School
-Chicago Water Tower
-Old St. Patrick’s Church

Related events

In that hot, dry and windy autumn, three other major fires occurred along the shores of Lake Michigan at the same time as the Great Chicago Fire. Some 400 miles (600 km) to the north, a prairie fire driven by strong winds consumed the town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin along with a dozen other villages, killing 1,200 to 2,500 people and charring approximately 1.5 million acres (6,000 km?). Though the Peshtigo Fire remains the deadliest in American history, the remoteness of the region meant it was little noticed at the time. Across the lake to the east, the town of Holland, Michigan and other nearby areas burned to the ground. Some 100 miles to the north of Holland the lumbering community of Manistee, Michigan also suffered a tremendous fire.

In pop culture

Gary Larson’s The Far Side comic strip jokes that the fire may have been started by secret agent cows.

In 2006, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, during a week in Chicago, featured a sketch in which Mrs. O’Leary’s cow finally received justice for starting the fire: It was strapped to a bomb and given a chance to disarm it by cutting the blue wire. Sadly, cows are colorblind, so Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was blown to bits.

In The Simpsons episode “Simpsons Tall Tales”, Homer plays Paul Bunyan who lives among local townspeople. While there he crushes their houses and consumes all their food. Eventually, the townspeople drug him and drag him out of their town. However when a meteor is soon to hit the town, the townspeople call Paul back to help them. Paul soon agrees and throws the meteor towards Chicago, which is how the Great Chicago Fire is started.

In the Histeria episode “The Wheel of History”, Nostradamus tells the story of the fire and it is presented as a discussion on Barry Ding Live (a spoof of Larry King Live) where all the protagonists are interviewed. Daisy, a cow, was arrested following a slow cow chase (alluding to the slow car chase that led to the arrest of O.J. Simpson) and denies starting the fire, claiming the charges are “udderly false”. There are phone in segments from Mrs. O’ Leary, Peg Leg as well as the reporter who first carried the story (as well as a phone call from Cato), all of whom are shown accidentally starting fires themselves.

Richard C. Meredith’s science fiction novel Run, Come See Jerusalem! contains a vivid description of the Great Chicago Fire as seen by a time-traveler.

In the second season episode of Early Edition titled “Hot Time In The Old Town,” the main character, Gary Hobson, travels back in time and trys to prevent the fire. When he arrives in the time period dazed and confused, he is taken in by an Irish immigrant who turns out to be the husband of Catherine O’Leary.

In the 2006 film The Break-Up, Vince Vaughn makes many references to the fire.

Sufjan Stevens sings “Oh great fire of great disaster” in “The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders” on his 2005 album Illinois.

References

^ The O’Leary Legend. Chicago History Museum. Retrieved on 2007-03-18.
^ Chicago Landmarks. retrieved Dec 14, 2006
^ The Great Chicago Fire by Robert Cromie, published by Rutledge Hill Press ISBN 1-55853-264-1 and ISBN 1-55853-265-X (pbk. edition)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Chicago_Fire

1871 The Great Fire

For more detailed online information, the The Great Chicago Fire and the Web of Memory by the Chicago Historical Society and Northwestern University is an excellent resource.

No one knows how the fire started in the cowbarn at the rear of the Patrick O’Leary cottage at 137 DeKoven Street on Chicago’s West Side. A report on the cause may be found in CPL’s Deaths, Disturbances, Disasters and Disorders in Chicago Selected Bibliography.

The blaze began about 9 p.m. on Sunday, October 8, 1871. By midnight the fire had jumped the river’s south branch and by 1:30 a.m., the business district was in flames. Shortly thereafter the fire raced northward across the main river.

The waterworks were evacuated although the tower was not badly damaged and still stands. During Monday the fire burned as far as Fullerton Avenue. Rainfall which started about midnight helped put out the last of the flames. 300 Chicagoans were dead, 90,000 homeless, and the property loss was $200 million.

Chicago quickly rebuilt and by 1875 little evidence of the disaster remained. The 100th anniversary of the fire was commemorated during the period October 3-10, 1971, with a series of events including a fire centennial dinner during which the Mayor expressed thanks to cities and countries that sent money after the fire. Other events were a fire prevention parade on State Street and an enormous lakefront fireworks display.

A Chronological History of Chicago: 1673-
Compiled by Chicago Municipal Reference Library, City of Chicago
Updated by Municipal Reference Collection, Chicago Public Library

Last Updated: 05/2005

http://www.chipublib.org/004chicago/timeline/greatfire.html

The Great Chicago Fire

It was a very dry and hot summer and fall of 1871. Even though fires seemed to be a lot worse than usual, the fireman thought they could take on any fire until the day of October 8 1871, came. Back in 1871 people blamed Mrs. O’Leary’s cow because the fire started on there street, but the dry summer helped a lot. Now people think that it was someone who was not being careful with matches or cigarettes. The wind most likely made the fire catch on house after house after house.

The day it started, people believed that Mrs. O’Leary was milking her cow, then, all of a sudden the lantern nearby was kicked over by the cow and a blazing fire started catching on to hay and houses. The fire was going at a speed which made it get bigger and larger every second, chasing people down DeKoven Street. The wooden houses made it easier for the fire to spread. When it reached the Chicago River, people thought they were safe, but the ashes jumped over the river and caught on more dry wood so the fire could rush to the center of the city. Panic and cries made people jump into the river or lake to avoid getting burnt. Another place to go was Lincoln Park because even though the fire was going everywhere, a light rain for about 25 hours made the fire die down before it reached Lincoln Park.

There were a few buildings that did not get destroyed. The Chicago Water Tower was one of them. The principal reason was because the Water Tower was one of the few buildings that wasn’t made out of wood. It was made out of limestone. Of course the fire ruined it a little but after the fire, workers made it even better than it had been before. That is why the Water Tower still stands today.

When the fire was over, 300 people of the 300,000 in Chicago were killed, 100,000 were left homeless, 17,500 buildings were destroyed, 73 miles of street were destroyed and $200 million of property was destroyed. People immediately started to rebuild. Architects, people and even firemen were working nonstop for 3 months. Cities all over the world sent supplies, money, and enough books to give Chicago the largest public library of its time. Old businesses were rebuilt and Chicago had enough industry to need a lot more workers then before. To make more room for buildings, Chicagoans used the trash from the fire to make a much bigger lakeshore by adding the trash to the existing lakeshore. That is why the Water Tower is no longer near the lake shore. After 3 months 300,000 buildings were built.

Many lessons were learned, such as fireproof houses were needed in the case of big fires. Even though the houses we have today aren’t even fireproof, people back then wanted the best they could get. Also, they needed gasoline powered trucks so they could get to the fires faster. The horses didn’t do that well with the firemen.

Another rule was that floors and roofs needed to withstand fire for at least 3 hours. The last rule was to have a much better fire alarm system. The old ones were not trustworthy enough. Those were all the new rules that they needed. And remember that all this confusion believed to be started from a cow on the corner of DeKoven and Jefferson.

http://library.thinkquest.org/CR0215480/fire.htm

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