In To Kill a Mockingbird, what caused the fire in Miss Maudie's house?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 8, Miss Maudie's house catches on fire and Atticus wakes his children to tell them to stand in the Radley yard as a precaution. Scout and Jem watch as Maudie's neighbors attempt to save her furniture and belongings from the flames. Eventually, Maudie's house collapses from the fire. The next day, Scout and Jem are surprised to find out that Miss Maudie is in a rather pleasant mood. Maudie tells the children that she is glad her old house burned down and says that she always wanted a smaller house anyway. When Jem asks Miss Maudie how the fire started, she says, "I don't know, Jem. Probably the flue in the kitchen. I kept a fire in there last night for my potted plants" (Lee 46). Miss Maudie was attempting to keep her plants from freezing because of the cold weather and left the stove on. A kitchen flue is a type of exhaust system that ventilates the kitchen area. Miss Maudie believes that the kitchen flue was probably clogged which allowed the smoke to accumulate and caused the fire to spread

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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