In 1997, Ms O'Leary's cow was absolved

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The famous 1871 fire nearly destroyed Chicago, killed approximately 300 people, and left another 100,000 homeless. From the ashes of the blaze came the birth of one of Chicago's most famous urban myths. While incident reports and the Chicago Title Insurance Company's records show that Mrs. O'Leary did have a barn behind her house with milking cows and that the fire did start in this vicinity, it has never been proven that a cow started the fire. In fact, investigations of the fire have shown that a witness may have lied and that news reporter, Michael Ahern, may have made the story up. In 1997, the Chicago City Council approved a resolution that absolved Mrs. O'Leary's cow.