The Chicago Fire of 1971 began burning on the night of October 8, 1971 and continued until October 10, 1971, when rain bolstered firefighting efforts. Dry weather and an abundance of wooden buildings made Chicago especially susceptible to fire during the fall of 1971.
The fire began in or around a barn on Patrick and Catherine O'Leary's farm. Legends claim the blaze began when one of the O'Leary's cows knocked a lantern over, although Catherine O'Leary fought this allegation. The fire left approximately 300 people dead and 100,000 homeless. It also gave rise to an outbreak of looting and lawlessness.