Iroquis Theater Fire

917 Words4 Pages
On a cold December 30, 1903, parents and children were headed to the Iroquois Theater in downtown Chicago to see Mr. Bluebeard. The theater had just opened that day and was said to be “absolutely fireproof;” in the end, the exact opposite was true. The tragedy begun when an arc light shortened and ignited a drop curtain. When that happened audience member’s panicked and began scrambling to escape but due to the over-packed crowd there was no way to escape thorough the small main doorway. (Sauberman) Ultimately, due to misjudgments and mistakes the Iroquois Theater burned down, killing a total of 602 people; because of this, stricter theater fire codes were passed. During Christmas vacation a play called Mr. Bluebeard was playing at the Iroquois Theater; and parents took their children to see it. At the beginning of the second act of the play, a spark from an arc light flared up and caught a drop curtain on fire. At first audience members didn’t think much of the flash of light, thinking it was part of the play. (Taylor) The spark then burst into flames, with the fire expanding rapidly behind the stage. Some people on stage tried to stop the fire from spreading by lowering the curtains, but it struck a few feet above the floor. Then the lights went out, and then that part of the stage collapsed. (Secter) Some employees tried to extinguish the fire but when that failed people began to panic. (Sauberman) The fire started spreading quickly, catching fire to drapery, decorations, and scenery flats. (Sauberman) When the fire began spreading into the audience, people became panicked. The actors on stage headed for the double doors at the back of the stage. (Alaspa 23) Once they opened the doors, cold air was able to get in, creating a giant fireball. (Alaspa 23) The fireball then flew over the audience on the main floor and turned the balcony into a death
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