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Honey Do List: Mrs. O'Leary's cow

I spent most of last week in the “windy city” of Chicago, and every night there I went to bed to the sounds of firetruck sirens and horns. Boy, those guys are busy. They must be really good, as well, because I never saw any flames or fire.

But it did make me think of The Great Chicago Fire and Mrs. O’Leary’s cow.

You see, way back in October of 1871 there was a huge fire that did a lot of damage in Chicago. According to NFPA.org, the event killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. Of course, you can imagine that there were way more wooden structures, more primitive fire codes and quite a lack of fire-fighting technology in those days compared to now.

You may remember that Mrs. O’Leary’s cow took the heat for this event, at least in pop culture. One cow plus one kicked-over lantern and a lot of hay can get out of hand pretty quickly. Actually, there are several presumed causes of this catastrophe, and the reporter who made up the “fake news” story on the cow admitted it in 1893.

I sure am glad we don’t have to worry about that kind of thing today, more than one hundred years later.

But the fire was not “fake news,” and since 1922 the week in October that contains the ninth day has been recognized as “National Fire Prevention Week.” You can find all of this information on NFPA.org, along with a lot more useful stuff.

This month, as usual for this column, we will be looking at fire safety, fire safety equipment and fire safety education tips.

So, if you see a fireman or firetruck going down the road, give a handshake or a wave. They deserve our gratitude for their dedication to our safety and their willingness to face real danger for our benefit.

Remember, help is just around the corner at your local hardware store.



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