The Great Chicago Fire raged from October 8th to 9th in 1871. The traditional account of the origin of the fire is that it was started by the O’Learys’ cow kicking over a lantern.
The fire destroyed 3.5 square miles of the city, killing around 250 people.
Sparks from the fire started forest fires that destroyed more than a million acres of Michigan and Wisconsin timberland.
On October 7, 1997, the Chicago City Council approved a resolution which absolved Mrs. O’Leary’s cow of all blame for the Great Chicago Fire.
Thank goodness because you wouldn’t want a cow with you on death row. They can be really tough cellys. “Celly” is a colloquialism of prison residents commonly used to refer to the person with whom they share a cell.
The O’Leary’s house pretty much survived the fire undamaged. That must have been awkward. “Sorry guys, my cow started this huge fire and now the city has to be totally rebuilt and you probably lost loved ones. But the good news is that poker night is still on for Wednesday!”