Unsolved History: Chicago Fire
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  • It's a very interesting show to watch, one in which you can learn and evaluate for yourself as you view it

    • by Orrymain
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      From 2003, Unsolved History: Chicago Fire examines the devastating 1871 Chicago fire that essentially destroyed the city. The experts from the show recreated the O’Leary barn and nearby structures and with the cooperation of the Chicago Fire Department actually started a very hot and dangerous fire to help with their analysis.

      I remember seeing cartoons and TV shows as a child that focused on this fire and the center of it was always


      Mrs. O’Leary and her cow. The story went that she went to the barn, left her lantern, and the cow kicked it over, thereby starting the fire. It’s been folklore for over a century now.

      What’s fascinating to me is seeing how these recreations are done. To actually rebuild the barn, the home, and other places with accuracy and then attempt to start a fire that will actually tell a story ...


      • that can help. They really do an incredible job here. For one thing, because of the heat of the fire they can prove that there’s no way a lantern left in the barn at the onset of the fire could have survived as undamaged as was claimed.

        Part of what the crew did was to review the testimony of witnesses, like Daniel ‘Peg Leg’ Sullivan, who claimed he saw the fire in

        the O’Leary barn and went there to help, actually saving a calf. How they go about proving, or disproving that, also fascinates me.

        I really Unsolved History: Chicago Fire because it investigates several possibilities and then gives us the probabilities. It’s a very interesting show to watch, one in which you can learn and evaluate for yourself as you view it. The most definite thing we learn: Mrs. O’Leary and her cow are innocent.




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