The major event that takes place in chapter eight involves Miss Maudie's house fire. In chapter eight, Maycomb experiences extremely cold weather, and school is canceled after the community receives a light dusting of snow. In the middle of the night, Atticus wakes up Jem and Scout and informs them that Maudie's house is on fire. The children listen to Atticus's instructions and proceed to stand in the Radley yard, which is a safe distance from the action. As Jem and Scout stand in the Radley yard, they watch as Maycomb's entire community works together in an attempt to save Maudie's furniture and valuable possessions. Unfortunately, Maycomb's fire truck is useless in the cold and the local men are forced to push it towards the closest hydrant.
During the house fire, Jem and Scout watch Atticus carry Maudie's heavy oak rocking chair out of her home while Mr. Avery pushes her bed out of an upstairs window. As the flames spread to the second floor, Mr. Avery struggles to escape through a small upstairs window but ends up sliding down a pillar and landing on Maudie's shrubbery. Unfortunately, the community is not able to save Maudie's home, which collapses in flames. The Abbottsville fire truck arrives late and the firefighters proceed to pump water onto the house. The next day, Scout discovers that Boo Radley gently placed a blanket over her shoulders during the ordeal without her noticing, and the children are surprised to learn that Maudie is not upset about losing her home.