Guide Great Bales of Fire: More Tales of a Country Fireman

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Backed up by a heartwarming cast of fellow firemen, Malcolm's enthusiasm for his job and his life are as infectious as ever. So whether it is cats up trees or trees on cars, follow Malcolm as he takes to the wheel for another crazy year in the country fire brigade. Told with the same gentle humour as his first book, ALL FIRED UP, and full of even more extraordinary real-life anecdotes, Shropshire's longest-serving fireman is back - a little older, a little wiser, and even more convinced he has the best job in the world.

Review quote Castle relates all the book's incidents with humour where appropriate, compassion where needed, and enthusiasm for his work shining out on every page: his fellow fire fighters are portrayed with genuine affection and this account of service in what he calls 'the best job in the world' is a real pleasure to read.

Visit Malcolm Castle's website at www. Rating details. Book ratings by Goodreads. Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X. Learn about new offers and get more deals by joining our newsletter. Sign up now. Follow us. There has been much speculation over the years on a single start to the fire. The most popular tale blames Mrs. O'Leary's cow , who allegedly knocked over a lantern; others state that a group of men were gambling inside the barn and knocked over a lantern.

The fire's spread was aided by the city's use of wood as the predominant building material in a style called balloon frame. More than two-thirds of the structures in Chicago at the time of the fire were made entirely of wood, with most of the houses and buildings being topped with highly flammable tar or shingle roofs. All of the city's sidewalks and many roads were also made of wood. In , the Chicago Fire Department had firefighters with just 17 horse-drawn steam engines to protect the entire city.

When firefighters finally arrived at DeKoven Street, the fire had grown and spread to neighboring buildings and was progressing toward the central business district. Firefighters had hoped that the South Branch of the Chicago River and an area that had previously thoroughly burned would act as a natural firebreak. As the fire grew, the southwest wind intensified and became superheated, causing structures to catch fire from the heat and from burning debris blown by the wind. Around midnight, flaming debris blew across the river and landed on roofs and the South Side Gas Works.

With the fire across the river and moving rapidly toward the heart of the city, panic set in. About this time, Mayor Roswell B. Mason sent messages to nearby towns asking for help. When the courthouse caught fire, he ordered the building to be evacuated and the prisoners jailed in the basement to be released.

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These fire whirls are likely what drove flaming debris so high and so far. Such debris was blown across the main branch of the Chicago River to a railroad car carrying kerosene. Also likely a factor in the fire's rapid spread was the amount of flammable waste that had accumulated in the river from years of improper disposal methods used by local industries. Despite the fire spreading and growing rapidly, the city's firefighters continued to battle the blaze.

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Within minutes, the interior of the building was engulfed in flames and the building was destroyed. Finally, late into the evening of the 9th, it started to rain, but the fire had already started to burn itself out. The fire had spread to the sparsely populated areas of the north side, having consumed the densely populated areas thoroughly. Once the fire had ended, the smoldering remains were still too hot for a survey of the damage to be completed for many days.

Of the approximately , inhabitants of Chicago in , 90, Chicago residents 1 in 3 residents were left homeless. In the days and weeks following the fire, monetary donations flowed into Chicago from around the country and abroad, along with donations of food, clothing, and other goods. These donations came from individuals, corporations, and cities. Milwaukee , along with other nearby cities, helped by sending fire-fighting equipment. Additionally, food, clothing and books were brought by train from all over the continent. Operating from the First Congregational Church , city officials and aldermen began taking steps to preserve order in Chicago.

Many people who were left homeless after the incident were never able to get their normal lives back since all their personal papers and belongings burned in the conflagration. After the fire, A. In April , the City Council passed the ordinance to establish the free Chicago Public Library , starting with the donation from the United Kingdom of more than 8, volumes. The fire also led to questions about development in the United States.

Based on a religious point of view, some said that Americans should return to a more old-fashioned way of life, and that the fire was caused by people ignoring traditional morality.


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On the other hand, others believed that a lesson to be learned from the fire was that cities needed to improve their building techniques. Frederick Law Olmsted observed that poor building practices in Chicago were a problem:. It did a great deal of commercial advertising in its house-tops.

The faults of construction as well as of art in its great showy buildings must have been numerous. Their walls were thin, and were overweighted with gross and coarse misornamentation. Olmsted also believed that with brick walls, and disciplined firemen and police, the deaths and damage caused would have been much less. Almost immediately, the city began to rewrite its fire standards, spurred by the efforts of leading insurance executives, and fire-prevention reformers such as Arthur C.

Chicago soon developed one of the country's leading fire-fighting forces. Business owners, and land speculators such as Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard , quickly set about rebuilding the city. The first load of lumber for rebuilding was delivered the day the last burning building was extinguished. By the World's Columbian Exposition 22 years later, Chicago hosted more than 21 million visitors. The Palmer House hotel burned to the ground in the fire 13 days after its grand opening.

Its developer, Potter Palmer, secured a loan and rebuilt the hotel to higher standards across the street from the original, proclaiming it to be "The World's First Fireproof Building". In , the remaining structures on the original O'Leary property at W. A bronze sculpture of stylized flames, entitled Pillar of Fire by sculptor Egon Weiner , was erected on the point of origin in Michael's Church and the Pumping Station were both gutted in the fire, but their exteriors survived, and the buildings were rebuilt using the surviving walls.

Great Bales of Fire: More Tales of a Country Fireman by Malcolm Castle - Books - Hachette Australia

Additionally, though the inhabitable portions of the building were destroyed, the bell tower of St. James Cathedral survived the fire and was incorporated into the rebuilt church. The stones near the top of the tower are still blackened from the soot and smoke. A couple of wooden cottages on North Cleveland Avenue also survived the blaze. Almost from the moment the fire broke out, various theories about its cause began to circulate.

The cow kicked over a lantern or an oil lamp in some versions , setting fire to the barn. The O'Leary family denied this, stating that they were in bed before the fire started, but stories of the cow began to spread across the city. Catherine O'Leary seemed the perfect scapegoat : she was a poor, Irish Catholic immigrant. During the latter half of the 19th century, anti-Irish sentiment was strong throughout the United States and in Chicago. This was intensified as a result of the growing political power of the city's Irish population.

O'Leary was a target of both anti-Catholic and anti-Irish sentiment. This story was circulating in Chicago even before the flames had died out, and it was noted in the Chicago Tribune ' s first post-fire issue. In the reporter Michael Ahern retracted the "cow-and-lantern" story, admitting it was fabricated, but even his confession was unable to put the legend to rest.

Amateur historian Richard Bales has suggested the fire started when Daniel "Pegleg" Sullivan, who first reported the fire, ignited hay in the barn while trying to steal milk. The Chicago Public Library staff criticized his account in their web page on the fire. Cohn may have started the fire during a craps game. When Mrs. O'Leary came out to the barn to chase the gamblers away at around , they knocked over a lantern in their flight, although Cohn states that he paused long enough to scoop up the money.

The bequest was given to the school on September 28, An alternative theory, first suggested in by Ignatius L. This was described as "A fringe theory" concerning Biela's Comet. At a 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. 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. Moreover, if a fragment of an icy comet were to strike the Earth, the most likely outcome, due to the low tensile strength of such bodies, would be for it to disintegrate in the upper atmosphere, leading to an air burst explosion analogous to that of the Tunguska event.

A common cause for the fires in the Midwest in the fall of is that the area had suffered through a tinder-dry summer, so that winds from the front that moved in that evening were capable of generating rapidly expanding blazes from available ignition sources, which were plentiful in the region. On that hot, dry, and windy autumn day, three other major fires occurred along the shores of Lake Michigan at the same time as the Great Chicago Fire.

It killed 1, to 2, people and charred approximately 1. The Peshtigo Fire remains the deadliest in American history [45] but the remoteness of the region meant it was little noticed at the time, due to the fact that one of the first things that burned were the telegraph lines to Green Bay. Across the lake to the east, the town of Holland, Michigan , and other nearby areas burned to the ground.

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The city of Singapore, Michigan , provided a large portion of the lumber to rebuild Chicago. As a result, the area was so heavily deforested that the land deteriorated into barren sand dunes that buried the town, and the town had to be abandoned.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Chicago portal. Illinois History Teacher. Retrieved September 25, — via Illinois Periodicals Online. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. August 1, The Great Chicago Fire. The Great Fire. Scholastic Inc. Chicago Daily Tribune. October 8, Retrieved November 27, Smithsonian Magazine.

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Retrieved February 24, Retrieved January 22, Flames even raced right across the Chicago River, feeding on flammable waste in the water. National Geographic Society. Retrieved February 19,


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