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What Draws People to Witness a Massive Fire?

In his eyewitness account of Chicago’s Great Fire of 1871, James Goodsell tells us that “thousands of the able-bodied men” went to the south side of Chicago - where the fire had started.  Why did they go there?

Would it be reasonable, for those witnesses, to expect that the spreading fire would not “jump” the river, to reach the north side of the city?

What happened when those men became victims instead of witnesses?

What causes victims of events, like massive fires, to attempt heroic deeds to help others, such as their family members?


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