Today in fire history: Iroquois Theatre Fire

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on Dec 30, 2011

On December 30, 1903, a fire in Chicago Illinois’ Iroquois Theatre resulted in the deaths of 602 people and injuries to 250 others.  The investigation showed that the fire was sparked by an arc light which ignited scenery curtains.  An asbestos fire curtain was dropped on the stage, but was snagged on the way down and stopped about 10 feet above the stage, which allowed toxic smoke and flames to flow into the auditorium.  Many deaths were due to crowd-crush, and the fire was brought under control in about 15 minutes by firefighters. All site visitors can download an overview of the fire, including an eyewitness account from Eddie Foy, one of the actors performing on that tragic day.