Besides the dryness in the air and the wood chips, the houses that burned in the Chicago fire of 1871 were old, wooden, and packed in tightly.
There may have been little anyone could have done to prevent the disaster.
However, it didn’t help that the firemen were misdirected when the initial call came in.
Furthermore, they had been busy with another huge fire the day before and were exhausted.
By the time they reached the site, the blaze was way beyond control. As a result, hundreds of people lost their lives.