Death in the House of Refuge

Chicago’s Water Tower is one of only half a dozen structures to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.   There is an account told about a quick-thinking watchman at the pumping station across the street who saw the glow from the fire off in the distance and, fearing its impending arrival, went straight to a local tannery to load up his wagon with hides.   Racing back to the pumping station, he and a colleague hoisted the hides up to the roof and poured water on them to get them soaking wet.   As a result, the Water Tower and pumping station were spared from the burning embers of the rapidly approaching inferno.   Fearing he would die in the fire, however, the watchman hanged himself in the Water Tower as the heat approached, where his body was found after the fire was extinguished.

If he had just trusted in the house of refuge, everything would have been alright.

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