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HOUSTON, TX: FEB. 21, 1912 – A fire that began in an untenanted rooming house and driven by gale-force winds spread with amazing speed. A dozen industrial plants, 200 dwellings and stores of 55,000 bales of cotton were soon in flames. Also engulfed were 36 railcars. A path of destruction 1½ miles long and a half-mile wide burned across the city. Flaming shingles rained across the city and firemen struggled to halt the marching wall of flames. Time after time, the roof of the oil plant caught fire, but was extinguished. When the smoke cleared, the worst fire in the history of the city had destroyed more than $7 million in property and left 1,000 people homeless.