It was a confluence of elements that made the evening of October 8th, 1871 devastating for the City of Chicago. A fire that erupted in a barn just southwest of Chicago's Loop spread quickly. The story of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 has been told and retold countless times over the years. But Peter Charles Hoffer
's book Seven Fires: The Urban Infernos that Reshaped America
put the fire into a broader context. In 2006, WBEZ's Steve Edwards spoke with Hoffer, who said Chicago's fire was made great by a deadly combination of factors.