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TOPEKA BTATJfi JOUlCINAl THURSDAY EVENING. DECEMBER 31, 1U3-
not see the fire from where I stood and
I thought that it was not as bad as It
really was. When the first of the fren
zied audience reached the outside door,
I tried to calm them, but In less than a
minute I Raw It was nf nn use and T
tmrst open the doors. Then I ran for
the fire alarm box. Coming back, I as
sisted in the rescue as much as I could,
lut was overrun by the terrified people
who pushed and shoved each other out
iof the doorway. I was caught in the
.mass of struggling humanity and car
ried out to the street."
J Waiters and cooks from Thompson's
lrestaurant, which adjoins the theater
Jn the east, rescued 15 people by rais
'rjg a ladder from the roof of a shed to
a window in the rear of the building,
around which a mass of screaming wo
men and children were congregated.
C. Little, the head cook, mounted to
the toD of the ladder and told them
to .Jump Into his arms. Fifteen women
and children did this and were passed
by Little down to the other men on the
ladder below him. One woman at
tempted to Jump into his arms before
he was ready to take hold of her and
she fell to the alley, fracturing her
Bkull. She died almost Instantly.
D. A. Stratton of Alpina, Mich., was
In the. theater with his 16-year-old
daughter Mattie and his niece, Louise
FSushway of Chicago. In the rush for
the door he became separated from
both girls and attempted to fight his
way back in order to find them, but
was buffeted aside by the rush of mad
dened people. He was knocked down,
trampled on and his head cut in a doz
en places. Not for an hour after being
carried out did he learn that the two
children had also escaped, both of them
being burned badly. His daughter in
haled flame and was unable to speak.
Loss of Life Proves Greater Than at
Chicago, Dec. 31. About 550 people
were killed in ten minutes yesterday
afternoon during a tiro In the Iroquois
theater. Estimates of the dead and
Injured vary. The police count of dead
Is 536. The estimate of the newspapers
Is 562. Besides this there are 55 people
missing at midnight, the majority of
whom are probably among the dead in
the morgue and various undertaking
establishments. Eighty-six of the
dead have been positively Identified,
and 90 others are known to be injured.
As far as human power could make
It, the Iroquois theater was the safest
In the city. It was new, having been
completed a few weeks ago, and was
believed to be absolutely Are proof.
The fire broke out during the second
act of the play, "Mr. Bluebeard," which
was the first dramatic production in
the theater since its erection.
The company, which was large, es
caped to the street in safety, nearly
all the actors, however, being compell
ed to go into the snowy streets with
no clothing but their stage costumes.
A few members of the company re
ceived minor injuries, but none was
--. Caused by Electric Wire.
The accounts of the origin of the fire
are conflicting and none certain, but
the best reason given is that an elec
tric wire near the lower part of a piece
of drop scenery suddenly broke and
The fire spread rapidly toward the
front of the stage, causing the mem
bers of the chorus who were then en
gaged in the performance to run to the
wings with screams of terror.
The fire in itself ur to this time was
not serious and possibly could have
been checked had not the asbestos
curtain failed to work.
As soon as the Are was discovered
Eddie Foy. the chief comedian of the
company, shouted to lower the curtain,
end this was Immediately done. It
descended about half way and then
stuck. The fire thus was given prac
tically a flue through which a strong
draft was settling, aided by the doors
which had been thrown open in the
front of the theater.
Died in Their Seats.
With a roar and a bound the flames
Shot through the opening over the
heads of the people on the first floor
and, reaching up to those in the first
balcony, caught them and burned them
to death where they sat.
Immediately following this rush of
flames there came an exilosion which
lifted the roof of the theater from its
wall", shattering the large skylight
As soon as the flames first appeared
beyond the curtain, a man in the rear
of the hall shouted "Fire! Fire!" and
the entire audience arose as one per
son and made for the doors.
Gas Reservoirs Burst.
It is believed that the explosion was
caused by the flames coming in con
tact with the gas reservoirs of the
theater, causing them to burst.
Will J. Davis, manager of the the
ater, said after the catastrophe, that
If the people had remained in their
seats and had not been excited by the
cry of fire, not a single life would have
This is, however, contradicted by the
statements of the firemen, who found
many people sitting in their, seats,
their faces directed toward the stage
as if the performance was still going
on. It is the opinion of the firemen
that these persons were suffocated at
once bv the flow of gas which came
from behind the asbestos curtain.
Audience of Thirteen Hundred.
As near as can be estimated at the
present time about 1,300 people were in
the theater. Three hundred of these
were on the first floor, the remainder
being in the balconies and in the hall
ways back of them.
The theater is modeled after the
Opera Comique in Paris, and from the
rear of each balcony there are three
doors leading out to passageways to
ward the front of the theater. Two of
these doorways are at the end of the
balcony, and one In the center.
The audience in its rush for the outer
nir aeems to nave, ror the greater part,
chosen to run to the left entrance ana
to attempt to make Its way down the
eastern stairway leading into the lobby
of the theater. Outside of the people
burned and suffocated by gas, it was in
these two doorways on the first and
second balconies that the greatest loss
Dead la Piles.
When the firemen entered the build
lntr the dead wer funi . . i i
pile reaching from the head of the
stairway, at least eight feet from the
. ... iu a point aDout five feet
in the rear of the door.
This mass of rteaii hvii..
- , - ra in Liie cen-
IZt I, ? ,r raJLhed to with'h two
feet of the top of the passageway All
efi t-168 at tnis point were women
The fight for life which must have
taken place at these two points is some
thing that is simply beyond human
power to adequately describe. Onlv a
faint idea of its hnrmr ...ii i . .
from the aspect of the bodies as they
Fought for Freedom.
Women on top of these masses of
dead had been overtaken by death as
they were crawling on their hands and
knees over the bodies of those who
hafl rt taA V.As..A nrhAra 1 .. ... t . I.
itretched out in the direction toward
which lay life and safety, holding In
their hands fragments of garments not
their own. They were evidently torn
from the clothing of others whom they
had endeavored to pull down and tram
ple under foot as they fought for their
As the police removel layer after lay
er of dead in these doorways, the sight
became too much, even for police and
firemen, hardened as they are to such
sights, to endure. . The bodies were in
such an inextricable mass, and so
tightly were they jammed between the
sides of the door and the walls, that
it was impossible to lift them one by
one and carry them out. The only pos
sible thing to was to seize a limb or
some other portion of the body and pull
with main strength.
Leading Man In Mr. Bluebeard.
Men worked at the task with tears
running down their cheeks, and the
sobs of the rescuers could be heard
even in the hall below where this aw
ful scenes was being enacted.
Men Give Up.
A number of men were compelled to
abandon their task and give it over to
others whose nerves had not as yet
been shaken by the awful experience.
As one by one the bodies were drag
ged out of the water-soaked, blackened
mass, the spectacle became more and
more heart rending. There were wo
men whose clothing was torn com
pletely from their bodies above the
waist, whose bosoms had been tram
pled into a pulp and whose faces were
marred beyond all power of identifica
tion. In the first and second balconies bod
ies were piled up in the aisles three
and four deep, where some had fallen
and others had tripped over their pros
trate forms. All had died where they
lay, evidently suffocated by the gas.
Others were bent over backs of seats,
where they had been thrown by the
rush of people for the doors, and kill
ed .with hardly a chance to rise from
One man was found with his back
bent nearly double, his spinal column
having been fractured as he was
A woman was found cut nearly in
half by the back of the seat, she hav
ing been forced over it face downward.
Bodies Almost Nude.
In the aisles nearest to the doors
the scene were harrowing in the ex
treme. Bodies lay in every conceiva
ble attitude half naked, the look on
their faces revealing some portion of
the agony which must have preceded
There wore scores and scores of rao
ple whose entire faces had been tram
pled completely off by the heels of
those who rushed over them and in
one aisle the body of a man was found
with not a vestige of clothing, flesh or
bone remaining above his waist line.
The upper portion of his body had been
cut into pieces and carried away by the
feet of those who trammed on him. A
search was made carefully with a hope
of finding his head, but at a late hour
it had not been discovered and all that
will ever tell his friends who he was
is the color and appearance of the
clothing on the lower limbs, and this is
in such a condition as to be hardly
Firs Escapes Not Finished.
The theater had been constructed but
a short time and all its equipment was
not yet in Place. This was unfortun-
tely the case with a fire escape in the
rear of the building. The small iron
balconies to which the iron ladder was
to be attached were up, but the ladder
had not yet been constructed.
W hen the panic was at its height, a
large number of women ran for these
fire escapes, only to find as they
emerged from the doorway upon the
little iron platform that they were 30
to 50 feet from the ground, a fire be
hind and no method of escape in front.
J hose who reached the platform first
endeavored to hold their footing and
to keep back the crowd that Dressed
upon them from the rear. The effort
was utterly useless and in a few mo
ments the iron ledges were jammed
with crowds of women who screamed,
fought and tore at each other like ma
niacs. This lasted but a brief interval
and the rush from the interior of the
building became so violent that many
of them were crowded off and fell to
the granite alley below. Others leaped
from the platform, fracturing legs and
arms, and two were picked up at this
point with fractured skulls, having
FOOTBALL PLAYERS RILLED.
Harry Kieley and Probably Others
Amoag the Dead.
St. Louis, Dec. 31. Harry Kieley. re
ported among the killed at Chicago,
was well known as a football player
and all around athlete. He left St.
Louis Wednesday with the World's
fair hockey team for Houghton, Mieh.,
where they were to play several games.
It is probable that other members of
the team were with Kieley at the thea
ter and that they also met death. The
other members who are believed to
have gone to the theater with Kieley
Frazier, Louis, Lecron, Murphy, Dil
lon and Forshaw.
MRS. LEAVENWORTH INJURED.
Decatur, 111., Dec. 3L Mrs. Frank
Leavenworth, prominent in woman's
club work and an accomplished woman,
was fatally injured in the Chicago fire.
THROUGH THE ROOF.
People Were Rescued and
About a score of people in the sec
ond balcony were saved by firemen,
who took them through the roof and
carried them down ladders in the rear
of the building. Two bodies tightly
locked In t;ach others' arms, young
women apparently about 25 years oldi
were found in one end of the orchestra
pit. They must have fallen through
the balcony above. The body of a
dark-haired girl, apparently 12 years
of age, was found impaled on the iron
railing of the first balcony, she evi
dently having been thrown over from
the second balcony above.
With all of its clothir.j torn from it
but a pair of baby shoes, the body of
a child about one year old was found
in a far corner of the second balcony.
It had evidently been knocked from its
mother's arms and was -trampled be
yond all recognition.
While scores of men were busv In
carrying out the dead and injured,
others fortunately few in numbers
searched the aisles and seats for val
uables. Two women were found who
had provided themselves with baskets
and were filling them with the prop
erty of the dead. They were placed
under arrest, and the theater ushers
and stage hands were given the work
of collecting all the valuables on the
floor of the theater. During the even
ing the colice arrested over a dozen
men accused of being thieves and pick
pockts. Frederick W. Job. secretary of the
Chicago Employers' association, tele
phoned to W. D. Moon, a liver V stahle
proprietor at 2021 Wabash avenue, ask
ing that carriages be sent for the re
lief of the sufferers. Mr. Moon replied
he would give his carriages for the
work. He later told Mr. Job that he
notified the union headquarters where
the drivers who are now on strike were
congregated that he had donated the
carriages ond asked if they would
drive to the Iroquois theater to help
remove the wounded. Mr. Moon re
ported to Mr. Job that they flatly re
fused to do so.
EDDIE FOY'S STORY.
Comedian Describes the Fire as Been
from the Stage. -.
Eddie Foy. the principal comedian in
the play, was one of the last to escape.
He got out through a rear door after
assisting the women members of the
coraoany to safety. He went into the
Sherman house in his stage costume
and with his face covered with grease
paint in order to secure surgical atten
tion for some burns which he had re
ceived. EDDIE FOY,
Kansas Man Leading Comedian in Mr.
In describing the commencement of
the fire, Foy attributed the extent of
the catastrophe to the failure of the
fireproof curtain to work properly. Be
cause of this, he said, the flames
readily ' obtained access to the main
part of the theater and were drawn
by the draft, carrying gas as well as
gre. They swept up to the two bal
conies, where the loss of life) was
"The fire began in the middle of the
second act." said Mr. Foy. "An electric
wire broke, was grounded, and from this
the flames were started an the rear of
the stage. The stage is unusually wide
and there was so great a draft that the
flames spread rapidly. They soon at
tacked all the scenery in the rear of the
house. I never believed it possible for
fire to spread so quickly.
"When it started I went to the foot
lights and, to prevent alarming the
audience, said that there was a slight
blaze and that it would be better for all
to leave quietly. Then I stepped back
and called for the asbestos curtain to
be lowered. This, when about half way
down, refused to work. The simple fact
that the curtain did not descend en
tirely was what saved the lives of the
company, although it caused such a
horrible catastrophe In the front of the
"After the curtain had refused to de
scend, there came the exolosion of the
gas tanks, and with the curtain down
all the fire and gas would have been
confined between the rear wall of the
theater and the fireproof curtain in
front. Under these circumstances it
would not have been possible for a
single member of the company to
escape aliva unless he or she had been
standing immediately In front of the
door leading into the alley.
"Aa it was the draft carried all the
gas and fire out beneath the curtain
and the company was saved, although
their salvation was the death of so
many poor people in front."
THE NEWS IN NEW YORK.
Hanagers Promptly Plan Benefits
for Iroquois Victims.
New York, Dec. 31. The news of the
Chicago disaster was followed in New
York by the announcement of several
benefits ror the nre sufferers. S. S. Hhu
bert immediately telegraphed his manager
in Chicago to devote the receipts of nsxt
Wednesday matinee of "The Pit" to the
sufferers and announced that the proceeds
of Wednesday's matinee of "Winsome
Winnie." now here, would be devoted to
the same cause. The "Red Feather" com
pany will also give a benefit. A number
of other managers are considering similar
Al Hayman, Marcus Klaw and Abram
Erlanger, the leading members of the
theatrical syndicate, who own large inter
ests in the Iroquois theater, sat in their
offices in New Amsterdam until after
midnight eagerly awaiting the telegrams
from their Chicago representatives. Thy
were horrified and bewildered by the nu
merous reports and had little to say as to
the causes of the fire.
Klaw and Erlanger own "Mr. Blue
Beard." Their representative said it cost
$65,0CO to produce it there. About 240 peo
ple were with the production on the tour.
At every other theater on Broadway the
Chicago disaster was the one subject of
conversation among managers, employes
Actors crowded the wings between the
acts listening to news of the disaster
The present "Mr Blue Beard" company
began its tour at Pittsburg September 28.
HAD 27 EXITS.
Architect of the Iroquois Discusses
Pittsburg, Dec. 31. Benj. H. Marshall,
the Chicago architect who designed the
Iroquois theater, left for his home last
night, taking advantage of the first op
portunity to view the scene of horror.
Mr. Marshall was overwhelmed by the
news of the disaster.
"I'll never allow another theater to be
built with a stick of wood in it," he de
clared, reading bulletins which were hand
ed him. "The Iroquois was built along
the very latest lines and was provided
with 27 fire exits, but wood was used and
stairwavs were employed. A fire proof
building' will not be erected as long as
wood is used. In a theater there are so
many articles of inflammable material
that when a blaze once gets headway it
spreads in the most alarming manner."
DEAD PILED 10 FEET HIGH.
Bishop Fallows Relates Experience in
Work of Rescue.
Among the hundreds of persons who
rushed to the rescue when the call of
fire was heard on the streets was
Bishop Fallows, who . happened to be
passing the theater. Without fear or
hesitation he made Lhis way through the
darkness that was Intensified by the
volume of smoke that filled the audi
torium to the top gallery and assisted
in carrying out the victims.
"God forbid that I ever again see
such a heart-rending sight," said the
Disnop. l nave been in vars and upon
the bloody field of battle, but In all my
experience I have never seen anything
half so gruesome as the sight that met
my eyes when with the aid of a tiny
lantern I was finally able to penetrate
the inky darkness of that balcony.
There was a pile of bleeding bodies ten
feet high with blackened faces and
remnants of charred clothing clinging
to them. Some were alive and moaning
in their agony. Others, and oh, by far,
the greater number, were dead. I as
sisted in carrying many of the injured
down and ministered to them the best
Story of Countryman Who Was In to
See the Sights.
D. W. Dimmiek. of Apple River, an
old man of 70 year with a long white
beard, was standing in the upper gal
lery when the fire broke out.
"I was with a party of four," said Mr.
Dimmiek. "The second act had begun
when suddenly I saw small pieces of
what looked like burning paper drop
ping down from above at the left of
the curtain. At the same time small
puffs of smoke seemed to shoot out
into the house. On the first floor peo
ple began to move about and a boy in
the gallery near me called 'fire,' but
there were plenty pf peoile to stop
him. 'Keep quiet' I told him. 'If you
don't look out you'll start a panic.' I
"The musicians came out into the or
chestra pit and began to play. Evi
dently they were trying to still the
alarm. Some of the players I don't
know who ran out onto the stage and
told us there was no danger.
"All this took but a minute or two.
Then all of a sudden the whole front of
the stage from the orchestra pit to the
top of the curtain seemed to burst out
in one flame. Then it was all off. Ev
erybody seemed to, get up and start to
ge out of the place at once.
"From all over the house came
shrieks and cries of fire. I and the men
who were with me started at once hug
ging the wall on the outside of the
stairway as we went down. Almost at
once the place semed to get thick with
smoke. I pulled out my handkerchief
and held it over my mouth.
"When we got down to the platform
where the first balcony opens it seemed
to me that people were stacked up like
cordwood. There were men, women and
children in the lot. At the same time
there were some people whom I thought
must be actors, who came running out
from somewhere in the interior of the
house, and whose wigs and . clothes
were on fire. We tried to beat out the
flames as we went along. By crowding
out the edge of the wall, we managed
to squeeze past the mass of people who
were writhing on the floor and prac
tically blocking the entrance so far as
the people still in the gallery were con
cerned. HARRY J. POWERS,
One of the Managers of the Iroquois
"As we got by the mass on the floor I
turned and caught hold of the arms of a
woman who was lying near the bottom
pinned down by the weight resting on her
feet. I managed to pull her out and I
think she got down in safety. One of the
men with me also pulled out another wo
man from the heap. I tried to rescue a
man who was also caught by the feet, but
although I braced myself against the
stairs I was unable to break his hold.
"When we got down to the grounJ floor
there were six or seven people lying there.
I don't know whether they were over
come by the smoke or what was the mat
ter, but we ran by them and got out safe
ly. I came in from Apple Creek to see
the sights in Chicago, and I have seen all
I can stand."
COUNT WAS LOST.
Rescuers Unable to Tell How Many
Bodies They Took Out.
It was the presence of children, hun
dreds of whom were in the audience,
and the efforts of their frantic mothers,
impelled by their first thought to seek
the safety of their young, that caused
much of the pandemonium. Alexander
H. Kevell, who had sent his little
daughter Margaret with a youthful
friend, in charge of a maid, to see the
performance, heard of it in his store
five minutes after the fire started and,
hastily calling a carriage, drove madly
to the burning; building. ...By the great
est good fortune one of the first per
sons he encountered was the hysterical
maid, who informed him that the two
children had been saved without in
jury. Mr. Revell then hastened into
the theater and participated in the
"I worked Sn the upper balconies,"
said he. "The sight of those poor wom
en and their little children with clench
ed fists raised as if trying to beat their
way to safety and stricken down in the
very act is too horrible to attempt to
describe. But I thought of how my
own little one had been saved and I
forgot my horror and did all I could to
save those who were not so fortunate.
I assisted the police and firemen in car
rying out more than twenty bodies."
Sheriff Barrett and a score of depu
ties from his office assisted in carrying
out the injured people and in keeping
order among the mob of frantic rela
tives, who thronged the streets in
front of the burning building, vainly
seeking Information that no one could
"I have never before witnessed such
a scene in all my life," said Sheriff
Barrett. "On all sides were heaps of
mangled and charred humanity. We
carried out so many injured and dead
that at last they grew so numerous
that we were unable to keep count of
ONE JURY FOR ALL.
Coroner Prepares to Hold Inquest on
the Fire Victims.
Chicago. Dec. 31. While the dead
were being examined by friends today
the records of the city building depart
ment were also being closely scanned.
According to the record, the building
ordinance with regard to the theater
was complied with in every particular
in the construction of the Iroquois. The
report of the inspector, Edward Laugh
lin, is that no one of the provisions of
the ordinance was violated. It was
considered to be an absolutely fire proof
structure. According to Benjamin H.
Marshall, architect of the building, and
who is now on his way here from Phil
adelphia, the exits were more ample
than usually planned for such buildings.
k i, litpil 1
Front of the New Iroquois Theater,
He bemoans the use of wood in a the
ater, however, declaring that he will
never allow another bit of wood to be
used in a theater. The Iroquois was
provided with 27 double fire exits, but
wood was used and Btairways were em
ployed. Without the announcement that one
jury of representative citizens would
listen to all the evidence regarding the
fire and return a single verdict for all
the victims, Coroner Trueger today
promptly empanelled a jury. National
Republican Committeeman Graeme
Stewart, member of the firm of Will-'
iam Hoyt & Co., wholesale grocers, was
told by the coroner that the death of
Mr. Hoyt's daughter, Mrs. Fox and
three children would be taken as a
basis for the investigation.
"If any persons are responsible for
this fire," said Coroner Treager, "they
will be prosecuted to the fullest extent
of the law.
"The investigation of the fire will be
thorough. We will leave no stone un
turned in our efforts to fix the respon
sibility." FIREMAN'S STORY.
It Was Impossible to Make the Fire
W. A. C. Sellers, the house fireman,
who was severely burned in trying to
lower the asbestos curtain, describes the
scene upon the stage and the cause as
follows : '
"I was standing in the wings when I
beard the explosion and there immediate
ly went forward a cry Of 'tire from the
stage and all over the theater. Looking
up, I saw that the curtain was ablaae
and at once I rang for the fire curtain.
We got it half way down when the wind
rushing in from the broken skylights,
bellied it out so that it caught and we
could not budge It. With the stage hands
I climbed to where it was suspenuea, ana
together we tried to push it down. Our
efforts were futile, and seeing that no
human power could move that fire cur
tain and that the stage was a mass of
flames, I turned my attention toward
WILL J. DAVIS,
Manager of the Iroquois Theater.
warning the actors and trying to save
those who were in trouble. The womon
were frantic and the men not much bet
ter. I stood at the stairway leading to
the dressing room where the chorus peo
ple were located and kept some from go
ing up to get their street clothes. As the
other came down I forced them to leave
the building. I do not know how they
ever got out all those girls and men who
came crowding down the stairs for the
stage entrance was blocked by a mass
WALKED OUT ON HEADS.
Remarkable Escape of a 12 Year Old
Girl from the Iroquois.
Chlcaeo. Dec. 31. Foremost among
the remarkable escapes was - that of
Winnie Gallagher. 12 years of age. The
girl occupied a seat in the third row
on the main floor and that she was able
to make her way through the struggling
mass of stronger and older persons is
considered remarkable by the police.
Unassisted the girl made her way over
the heads of terror stricken persons and
escaped. When she reached the street
her clothing was torn almost to shreds.
Among the first persons to escape
were Joseph Graham and Dorothy
Buor, two children. They were in the
parquette, 15 rows from the stage.
"I saw the scenery catch fire on the
lower left hand side, of the stage," said
the boy. "Eddie Foy came to the front
and told us to sit still, but we decided
we would get out and right away. Four
women fainted near me and nearly all
the others seemed dazed and just sat
still. We got up and kicked the door
open. I think a lot of others could have
come too if they had not been so scared.
We stood outside until they brought a
dead man out and then we went home."
A list of descriptions of unidentified
dead girls was compiled today in the
office of Chief of Police O'Neill. The
ages of the victims ranged from 9 to 2a
The number of unidentified dead girls
on the list was 57. For several of the
girls, the sole means of identification
given was the color of bits of shoe
laces, and that generally mentioned was
Others are scheduled as "burned be
yond description; no age." Mayor Har
rison, who first heard of the disaster
at Kansas City, announced immedi
ately on reaching Chicago today his
intention to issue a proclamation sug
Showing the Main Entrance on
gesting the closing down of all busi
ness on Saturday, which will probably
be the general burial day, and asking
for the cessation of all unnecessary
noise on that day. '
He said he would also issue a proc
lamation asking for the observance of
perfect quiet on New Year's eve; that
the people forego the usual New Year's
celebration, which is usually attended
by the tooting of horns, ringing of bells
and creat din.
Asked as to his opinion regarding the
cause of the fire, the mayor gave it as
his opinion that the Iroquois was the
safest theater in Chicago, and that if
the asbestos curtain had not failed to
work the disaster would not have oc
curred. He lays the cause entirely, to
that one fact.
With reference to placing the blame,
the mayor said that he could not make
any statement until after the coroner
has made his report.
"Sometime ago," said the mayor, "I
recommended to the council that an in
vestigation should be made looking to
the fire protection of theaters. That
is to S3y, to see whether theaters were
complying with the ordinance with re
spect to the sprinkler system and oth
er means for fire protection. That rec
ommendation was submitted to the ju
diciary committee who has it in hand
at the present time. The committee
has not yet made a report and I can
do nothing until I receive their report
in the matlter."
To Chief Musham, of the' fire depart
ment, the mayor has given instructions
to have placed in each theater in the
city two city firemen, at "the expense
or the theater to guard against any
repetition of the Iroquois disaster. As
an expression of sympathy for the be
reaved in Chicngo, the board of trade
today adjourned an hour before the
usual time. Similar action was taken
by the exchanges at Duluth and Mil
waukee. BROOKLYN THEATER FIRE.
In That Disaster, In 1876, 295 Lives
Chicago, Dec. 31. The Chicago Iro
quois disaster was vastly more de
structive to human life than any other
rlayhouse fire in this country. The fire
next to it in point of lives lost occurred
December 5, 1876, in Conway's Brooklyn
theater, Brooklyn, N. Y., where 295 of
the audience perished in the flames.
The day after Christmas in 1811 while
the play, "The Bleeding Nun," was be
ing performed in a theater at Rich
mond, Va., a fire started that burned
75 persons to death, among them being
the governor of the state, George W.
The most recent theater fire in Chi
cago before this was the one that de
stroyed the Columbia theater on Mon
roe street four years ago. This fire did
its work in practically 20 minutes. This
fire occurred during a rehearsal of the
Rogers brothers and the players on
the stage were protected by the cur
tain. While there was no loss of life
more property damage was done than
will probably result from the Iroquois
Occasional panics have occurred from
time to time in Chicago theaters start
ed by false alarms in the theater or by
fires nearby, but they have caused no
loss of life.
In the great Chicago fire of 1871, the
largest conflagration of modern times,
in which 2,124 acres were devastated,
but 200 lives were lost so far as the
most reliable information shows.
SENT STORY OF FIRE
Not Knowing That His Wife Was
Among the Missing.
Chicago, Dee. 31. Some of the most
remarkable incidents of the fire were
not known until today. F. L. Donald
son, a loop chief for the Western Union
Telegraph company, handled a long
telegraph story of the fire and its
harvest of death, unaware that his own
wife was among the missing. When he
went home and found that she had
gone to the theater, he hurriedly re
turned and searched for her through
the morgues and hospitals, but today
had not found the least trace of the
Adole PhilMpson, 8 years old, was one
of ihe children struck down and
trampled to death. Her body was re
moved by the firemen and taken to a
drug store. There the child was seen
by her mother, who had escaped unin
jured. The mother became hysterical,
but was not permitted to go near the
child's body. Bystanders tried to make
the woman believe the Uttle girl had
escaped death. Mrs. Phillipson was led
away and did not learn the truth for
SAW IT START.
Herbert Cawthorne Attributes Fire to
Herbert Cawthorne, a member of the
cast, assisted many of the chorus girls
from the stage exits in the panic. Mr.
"I was in a position to see the origin
of the fire, and I feel positive that it was
an electrical light started the blaze. The
calcium lights were being used to illumi
nate the stage in the latter part of the
second act when the song "In the Pale
Moon Light" was being sung. I was
standing behind a wing on the left side
of the stage when my attention was at
tracted by a peculiar sputtering of one of
the calciums. About the stage, perhaps 11
feet higher than the top of the curtain
exposed to the audience, was a swinging
platform from which It calciums were
operated. It appeared to me that one
of the calcium lights had flared up and,
ine Biru ignuca mo lint on the cur
tain." VIEWING THE DEAD.
People Fight for Pisces In the Lino at
Chicago, Dec. SL Chief of Police
O'Neill today supervised the work ot
helping friends and relatives recover
their dead. Hundreds of persons, grief
and anxiety written in their faces,
thronged about Chief O'Neill's office
seeking information. The pressure grew
so strong that Secretary Markham,
mounting a chair read oft descriptions
to the multitude, which listened with
straining ears. Frequently persons in
the crowd recognized the descriptions
read by the secretary and started in
horror for the particular morgue named
as the words fell from the secretary's
At the morgue the inadequacy of the
means of inspecting the bodies was evi
dent. Only a few persons .at a time
were allowed to pass before the bodies,
and places in the line of admission
were as eagerly sought and fought for
as means of escape were when the the
ater was burning. Messrs. Davis and
Powers, managers of the Iroquois, have
called a meeting at the Illinois theater
of all members of the "Blue Beard"
company and a full statement will be
made after a careful investigation.
Messrs. Davis and Powers emphatlcal-"
ly deny a report that there was a Are
in the Iroquois three weeks ago and
that the asbestos curtain then refused
to work on account of being controlled
by ropes Instead of wires. They also
state that the curtain was controlled
by the strongest wires that it was pos
sible to use. The facts are, according
to them, that the curtain swayed the
moment the ten or twelve exits were
thrown open, owing to the rush of air.
THE CORONER'S JURY..
The coroner's jury is as follows:
L. H. Myer, secretary of the Kennedy
Dr. Peter Byrnes, salesman for Lyon
Walter Clingman, salesman for the
Tobey Furniture company.
Joseph A. Cummlngs, manager ot
Browning, King & Co.
George W. Atkins, credit man for
Marshall Field & Co.
John W. Fine, salesman for A. H.
Revelle & Co.
HE SAW IT ALL.
Kenosha, Wis., Man Sat in Front Seat
of Lower Box.
Milwaukee, Wis., Dec. 31. J. Keith
Pickerell. of Kenosha, the last man to
leave the burning Iroquois theater by
the side exit, and who from the front
seat of the lower box on the right hand
side of the theater saw the entire trag
edy, arrived at his home in Kenosha
late last night and early this morning
gave a graphic description of the awful
tragedy in an interview to the Sentinel
by long distance telephone. He was
with a box party of 12. Beside him sat
Miss Sanborn of Chicago and back of
him his sister, Miss Beatrice Pickrell.
All of the party lost their wraps and
Mr. Pickrell had to put out the burning
clothes of his companions.
"The first I saw of the fire," said Mr.
Pickrell, in describing the awful catas
trophe, "was when Miss Sanborn called
my attention to a little blaze which
was eating its way up on a curtain on
the left hand side of the stage. Then
somebody- yelled 'Fire!' It was a man
and he seemed to be down stairs. For
a second the whole crowd seemed to be
paralyzed and before they regained their
senses some one stepped to the front of
the stage and told them to sit down.
"Then they sat down but it was onlv
for a minute. There was an explosion.
That was all that was needed. The
crowd had lost its paralysis and in an
other second the whole mob was
scrambling for the exits, tearing each
other down to get out.
"The men in the audience were the
worst. They seemed to lose their
heads and they fought with every
body, trampling down the women and.
children. The women seemed the calm
est but it must have been because they
were the weakest, and could not help
themselves. The men seemed to forget
that there were women there.
"I saw men pick up women and chil
dren and hold them over their heads in
trying to get them out. Then they
would be pulled down with their bur
den and trampled on.
"A man in the audience who was sit
ting in one of the front seats with his
wife and child, got up and tried to
climb over the railing into our box,
leaving his wife and child helpless be
hind him. An actor jumped from the
stage into our box and asked the man
what he wanted, what he meant by
leaving his wife. The man, who seemed
half crazy, shouted that he wanted to
find a way to get out. Then he crawled
back oft the railing and sat down by
his wife. I don't know what became of
OHARTERED A SPECIAL.
Man in Clinton, Ind., Hastens to
Search for His Children.
Clinton. Ind., Dec. 31. W. E. Dee, of
Chicago, a tile manufacturer with fac
tory at Mecca, Ind., ten miles from
here, heard of the Chicago theater dis
aster by telephone last night. The list
of missing contained the names of two
members of his family. He Instantly
started for Chicago, 135 miles away.
Jumping into a buggy he drove at too
speed to Cl.nton, where he chartered
a switch engine and dashed on to Dan
ville, 111., 50 miles away. A special train
had been ordered by telegraph which
was waiting for him. and at midnight
he started for Chicago. He expected
to reach there at 3 o'clock this morning.
The list of missing contains the names
of Edward and Louise Dee.
President Sends Message of Condo
lence to Mayor Harrison.
Chicago, Dec. 31. The following mes
sage was received this morning:
Washington, Dec. 31. Hon. Carter
Harrison, Mayor, Chicago:
In common with all our people
throughout this land I extend through
you to the people of Chicago my deep
est sympathy in the terrible catastrophe
which has befallen them.
SCENES AT THE MORGUES.
Long Rows of Shrivelled, Distorted
Bodies Met the Gaza.
Chicago, Dee. 31. When the men in
the various undertaking establishments
to which the dead had been taken had
managed to arrange the bodies in
something like order tfie work of Iden
tification was greatly facilitated. At
Rolston's place at 22 Adams street 18S
bodies were laid upon the tables and
floors and when the police opened their
lines to allow the throng to enter it
required all their strength to stem the
pressure that was brought to bear upon
them as the hundreds of people frantic
with anxiety in the search for missing
ones strove to be first to enter the
gruesome undertaking rooms. Scores
of women fainted before they had gon