#TBT from the NFPA Archives: Iroquois Theatre Fire - December 30, 1903

Blog Post created by jrodowicz Employee on Dec 29, 2016

Iroquois Theater Fire in Chicago, IL - December 30, 1903

Tragedy occurred  at the Iroquois Theatre in Chicago, Illinois on December 30, 1903. Many of the 602 victims were women and children who had taken advantage of the Christmas holidays to travel downtown to see a play.


From the NFPA Journal v. 109, no. 4, 2015

"The post-fire investigation of the Iroquois Thearre revealed that the building, on which construction had not yet been completed, was far from 'fireproof,' as the builder claimed. Of the 30 exits, 27 had been locked and few of them were marked. There were no fire escapes, alarms, sprinklers, telephones, or water connections. The only provisions for firefighting were six canisters of a dry chemical used to put out chimney fires."


For more information regarding this or other historic fires, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Library. The NFPA Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic. Library staff are available to answer reference questions from members and the general public.