Iroquois Theatre Fire

A brand new “absolutely fireproof” theatre opened in Chicago at 24-28 Randolph (between State and Dearborn streets). On Wednesday, December 30th, the hit musical, “Mr. Bluebeard” starring Eddie

That Wednesday’s matinee performance of “Mr. Bluebeard” played to a standing-room only crowd of nearly 1,900 people, comprised mostly of women and children. Only two thirds of this audience would be able to talk about it afterwards.

At 3:15 pm A stage hand, equipped only with two tubes of the patent powder, Kilfyre, was unable to extinguish the flames. The fire spread instantly beyond his control and a call for help was placed to the fire department. The audience, already panicky, gave way completely to terror, and rushed to search for the exits from all parts of the house.
When the firemen arrived they found bodies piled in a seemingly solid mass of flesh, ten feet deep, and so densely packed that they could scarcely be pulled apart. In one narrow passageway, where the crowds from two balconies fought to get into the open air, two hundred dead were found.
All injuries and deaths occured within the first fifteen minutes of the fire, which was extinguished by the fire department within thirty minutes. The photo was taken on the day of the fire at about 4:00 pm. Six hundred and three people died in this incident. Of the 150 performers and backstage personnel, only a tightrope artist died, trapped above the stage on her rope.