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THE BIRMINGHAM AGE-H ALD.
- ~= /■■■- — - " —— VOL. 30 BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31, 1903. NO. 241, MADLY STRUGGLING FOR LIFE OVER 500 PERSONS PERISH IN CHICAGO THEATRE During Performance of “Mr. Blue Beard’’ Scenery Catches Fire from Calcium Light and Crowd Makes Mad Rush for the Exit, Trampling Each Other to Death. In Awful Rush for Freedom, Women and Children are Mashed Into Pulp and Dead Bodies are Piled Up in Entrance to Balcony Eight Feet Deep. Actors Make Heroic Effort to Pre= vent Catastrophe, But Asbestos Curtain Failed to Work and in a Moment Terrific Explosion Envel= oped House in Flames. HICAGO, December 30.—About 550 people were killed in ten minutes this afternoon during a fire in the Iroquois theatre, the newest, the largest and, as far as human power could make it, the safest the atre in Chicago. Estimates of the dead and injured vary. The police count of the dead in 536. The estimate of the newspapers is 562. Besides this there are 556 people missing, at midnight, the majority of whom are probably among the dead in the morgues and various undertaking establishments. Eighty-six of the dead have been positively identified, ninety-two oth ers are known to be injured. A few of these people were burned to death by fire, many were suffo cated by gas, and scores were trampled to death in the panic that followed the mad plung of the frightened audience for the exists. It will be sev eral days before all of the dead are known and identified. There are bodies lying by the dozens tonight in the undertakng rooms in the police stations and in the hospitals, from which nearly everything that could reveal their identity to those who knew them best is gone. Their clothing is torn to rags, or burned to cinders, and their faces have been trampled into an uh recognizable pulp by the heels of the crowd that trampled them down as they fled for safety. THE PLAY WAS MR. BLUE BEARD. The fire broke out durning the second act of the play, "Mr. Blue Beard,” which was the first dramtic production given in the theatre since its erection. The company, which was very large, escaped to the street in safety, nearly all of them, however, being compelled to flee into the snowy streets with no clothing but their stage costumes. A few members of the company sustained minor injuries, but none was seriously hurt. The accounts of the origin of the fire are conflicting and none of them certain, but the best reason given is that an electric wire near the lower part of a piece of scenery, suddenly broke and was .grounded. The Are spread rapidly toward the front of the stage, causing the members of the chorus who were then engaged in the performance, to flee to the wings with screams of terror. The fire in itself up to this time was not serious and possibly coulu 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, and this was immediately done. It descenued about half way and then stuck. FIRE WAS GIVEN A FLUE. The fire was thus given practically a flue, through which a strong draft was setting, aided by the doors which had bc::i thrown open in the front of the theatre. Witn a roar and a bound the flames shot through the opening over the heads of the people on the first floor, and reaching clear up to those in the first balcony, caught them and burned them to death, where they sat. Immediately following the rush of the flames, there came an ex plosion which lifted the entire roof of the theatre from its walls, shattering the great skylight into fragments. As soon as the flames first appeared by the curtain a man in the rear of the hall shouted: "Fire! fire!” and the entire audience rose as one person and made for the doors. It Is believed that the explosion was caused by the flames coming In contact with the gas reservoirs of the theatre, causing them to burst. Will Davis, manager of the theatre, said after the catastrophe that If the peo ple had remained In their seats, and had not been excited by the cries of fire, not a single life would have been lost. This is, however, contradicted In the state ments of the firemen, who found numbers of people sitting in their seats, their faces directed toward the stage, as if the performance was still going on. It was the opinionj^the firemen that these people had been suffocated at once by the flow of gas which came from behind the asbestos curtain. 1300 PEOPLE IN THE THEATRE. As near as can be estimated at thepresent time, about 1300 people were in the theatre. Three hundred of these were on the flrRt floor, the balance being in the upper balconies and tn the hallways hack of them. The theatre is modelled after the Opera Comique in Paris, and from the rear of each balcony there are three doors leading out to passageways toward the front of the theatre. Two of these doorways are at the end of the balcony and one being in the center. The audience in its rushes for the outer air seems to have, for the greater part, chosen to flee to the left entrance, and to at tempt to make Its way down the eastern stairway leading Into the lobby of the theatre. Outside of the people burned and suffocated by gas, It was in these two doorways cn the first and second balconies that the greatest loss of life oc curred. When the firemen entered the building, the dead were found stretched in * a pile reaching from the head of the stairway at least eight feet from the door back to a point about five feet from the rear of the door. This mass of dead bodies in the center of the doorways reached to within two feet of the top of the passageway. All of the corpses at this point were women and children. 3EYOND HUMAN POWER TO DESCRIBE The fight for life which must have tak en place at these two points, is something that la simply beyond human power to adequately describe. Only a faint Idea of its horror could be derived from the as pect of the bodies as they lay. Women on too of these masses dead, had been over taken by death as they were crawling on their hands and knees over the bodies of those who had died before. Others lay with arms stretched tmt in the direction toward which they had sought safety, holding in their hands fragments of gar ments not their own. They were evidently torn from the clothing of others whom they had endeavored to pull down and 562 DEAD INJURED 556 MISSING THE DEAD. Following is a partial list of the dead: MRS. W. T. MARSH. MISS GLADYS STREITON, Alpena, Mich. LOUIS BUSHNELL. MRS. F. A. MOORILL. MRS. A. SULLIVAN. WIFE of Alderman Winegan. MISS EDITH NORTON. MRS. HARBAUGH. IRENE LANG. HORTENZ LANG. E L. WILSON. ? dS. DONNELLY. HREE MEN employed In the llics of the stage. MISS E. LAKE, 35 years of age, iden tified at morgue. MISS A. DONALDSON, 18 years of age, identified at morgue by telegram in her purse. J. RATTY tiled at hospital. Before death he spoke of two boys who had been with him. Both boys are thought to have per ished. ANNIE FITZGIBBON. MRS. PATRICK O'DONNELL, wife of President O'Donnell of the O'Donnell & Duer Brewing company. MRS. BESSIE CLINGER. OTTO WATMAN. R. H. COURTS. MISS HEARD. MISS ROSS, daughter of Dr. Ross. HELEN M'CAUGHAN with party of seven high school girls in balcony. C. W. FORBTTS and family. FLORLINE, aGerman aerial performer, taken to Samaritan hospital, died in am bulance. i ETHEL BLACKMAN, 13 years of age. Glenview, 111. MRS. CAVANAUGH. Unknown boy. 8 years, burned beyond recognition. Two unknown women, met death jump ing from rear fire escape while their gar ments were aflame. LOUISE BUCHRAY. MARIE WALSH, 15 years. MRS. JAMES D. MALONEY, wife of a plumber. MISS SPENCER. ETHEL JONES, daughter of S. H. Jones, attended theatre with brothers and sis ters, two of whom are missing. It was reported that the mother, an invalid, dropped dead when she received the tid ings of her daughter's death. MRS. KING, wife of John C. King, the attorney. LILLIAN PHILLIPSON, 6 years, Iden tification uncertain. Boy 17 years, lived at Lafayette, Ind. MRS. FOREMAN. W. W. HOOPER, Kenosha, Wis. Five children of Kenosha. Father became separated from them and is thought to be among the injured. MILDRED MERRIAM, 3 years old, res cued by father but died on reaching the street. BERNICE BALLET, at morgue. A. M. MANDEL, identified by ring. E. C. WINSLOW, commercial traveler of Three Rivers, Minn. BURR SCOTT. FORNETTA PETERSON. HARVEY KIELY, Laclede avenue. St. Louis. THOMAS COUTELL. EMPORLY HALL. J. C. JOHNSON, died in hospital. WILLIAM RATTLEY, died in hospital. WILLIAM M. REX, lawyer, Wauke gan. HOYT FIX. body at morgue. MRS. L. R. BUTLER, at morgue. S WARDMAN. at morgue. EDMUND W. MORTON, agent Wag ner Electric Manufacturing company, St. Louis. - NEWBY. J. A. KOCKENS. MRS. STERN. . H. DONALDSON, address unknown. THE REV. GEORGE HOWARD STITD LEY. pastor of All Strang, rs church. MISS J. H. DODD of Delaware, O. MISS V. DALE. THOMAS J. FLANNAGAN, 0292 Col lege avenue, Indianapolis. MRS M. A. HENRY. ROSE K. ROGERS, identified by purse. H. P. MOORE. C. COOPER. MAY CURRAN. “MARTIN,'’ a boy of 15. P. P. WILLIAMS. B. BEGENBERG. ELLA LINDEN. NUIR, first name not learned, member Traveling Passenger Agents’ association, check No. 13,231. HOYT FOX. RICHARD and ALLEN HOLST. HAROLD MARTIN, Pulliam. Ill, ROBERT MARTIN, young son of Prin cipal Martin of Pullman school. JOHN VAN INGEN, Kenosha, AVIs. WALTER BESSINGER, died at hos pital. MARGARET BUREMAN, died at hos pital. MRS. LEO WOLF, Hammond, Ind„ died at hospital. ALICE KAUSMAN, died at hospital. HELEN HOWARD, died at hospital. HELEN COOPER, died at hospital. P. E. GOULD, died at hospital. MORTIMER ELDR1DGE. HELEN BEYERSLOTH, Evanston, Til. LOUIS KISNER and WIFE, said to have belonged to Blue Beard company. REV. GEORGE H. DUDLEY, pastor of All Sc' ts’ Episcopal church. THE INJURED. MR,. 1D. KRAMS, Racine, Wis ^padly burned; will die. WINIFRED LINDSAY, 17 years of age, face and arms burned. ANNA TUBBS, daughter of Charles Tubbs, superintendent Western Union Tel egraph company, hands and face burned. EMMA TUBBS, mother of Anna Tuobs, condition serious. ELIZABETH TROWBRIDGE, Twer.ty clxth street and Calumet avenue, burned about hands and face; condition serious. EMMETT KINGSLEY. 2752 North Pau lina street, burns; probably die. FRED KINGSLEY, her sov., burner1 on face and hands. WARREN F. MORGAN. 1496 Webster avenue, burned while rescuing his 3-year old son. MISS MARCELL MORGAN, Detroit, severely burned; may die. M. A. MERRIAM of the George A. Ful ler company, seriously Injured while sav ing his daughter Mildred. LESTER DOTY. 7 years of age. VERDIO CLARK, badly burned. MRS. HENRY MILLER. Ontonagan, Mich. JESSIE PHELIN, will die. MARGARET BUERMAN, will die. RICHARD LANG, stage hand, will die. MRS. LEHMAN, Ferious. MRS. FRANCIS LERTIMAN, will die. MISS CARRIE ANDERSON, seriously injured. MISS MABEL M’MILLIN. FREDERICK FORD and WILLIAM PATTERSON, young son of C. Patterson of the Pullman Palace Car company, all serious. ADELAIDE BAKER, serious. — — POMEROY, serioiis. EDDIE FOY, comedian. ORRVILLE RAYDT, 1903 Artisan ave nue, severely burned. MRS. HELEN PILASH, 34 Humboldt Boulevard. FELIX and JESSIE OURRIERA. two children. MISS EMMA LANG, 584 Forty-fifth street. HERMAN DEIT, 266 Division street, both hands burned off. MRS. WIGWAM. 4466 Oakenwald avo | nue. seriously burned. MRS. MARIAN. Dunning. 111. THE MISSING. FRANK DOOLEY, son of Magistrate Dooley. JOE KINGSLEY'; his mother was se riously Injured. MRS. LULA GREENWALD and son. HENRY BOEHL. MRS. C. E. ERICKSON and son and daughter of Aurora, 111., were in balcony. JOHN FITZG1BBON. FLORENCE OXNAM, ROSEMOND SCMIDT, ELVIRA OLSEN, HELEN HOWARD, LI LIE HOWES, a club of high school girls, who were In the bal cony. MISS BIAH A. MAKER. WILLIAM GUNSALUS. nephew of Dr. Gunsalus. EDNA MAY SWIFT, daughter of T. A. Swift. MRS. ARTHUR BERGICH and young son. MRS. HENRY' G. FOREMAN, wife of the president of the county board. MRS. M. M. STARK, Des Moines, la. MRS. O. J. TUTHILL, Des Moines, la. MRS. M. FREDERICKS. ANNA OLESEN, accompanying above. LENA and ANNA MOAK of YVater town, Wis. EDNJY M. FERNEY. W. T. BOYD, wife and daughter. A. F. GARTZ. J. W. BRECKNER. supposed to have been one of box party. D. R. RUSS, address unknown. MRS. FRANK BERG, and daughter, ROSALINA. MRS. JOHN OUTHARD and daughter, ELIZA, were in the balcony. MRS. M. REISS and two children. MRS. McKENNA and son. BELLE PR1NNEY. FLORENCE HUTCHINS, Waukegan, 111. MARY and RARBARA GARTZ. chil dren of I. F. Gartz, treasurer of the Chi cago Elevator company. Colored nurse of Gartz children. MISS JENNIE FRENCH, of Klrkville, Mo. MISS DATTLY REID. MRS. REID. THE REV. RICHARDSON EDNA TONEY, aged 12 years. MRS. TIIOMAS A. CANTWELL, mother of Robert Cantwell. MRS. HULL and three children. MISS MARY FORBES. MRS. HULL’S maid. WALTER B. ZEISTER, son of Rr. Zeister of the University of Chicago, who is now in Europe. MRS. EMILY FOX, mother of Hoyt Fox, and her son and daughter; all live at Wintka, HI. EDWARD and LOUISE DEE. children. JOHN HOLLAND. Dos Moines. MISS NINA HAZEN. MRS. MARY TARLTON and two daughters. MRS. DAVTD KENNEDY and two daughters. Austin, 111. MISS KENNEDY, Freeport. 111. P. LUDWIG, wife and two daughters of Norwood Park. Til. MRS. A. ROAKNOFF, Zanesville, O., and two daughters. MRS. BESSIE CHAPMAN, aged 19. of Cedar Rapids, Ta. MISS NINA CJIERMAN of Cedar Rap ids. sister of above. MRS. AGNES NEWMAN and son. MRS. WILLIAM BARTLETT, son and daughter. ELSIE MEYER. West Rosedale, 111. MRS. DANIELS, Burlington. Iowa. MAUD SMITH. Desplaines, 111. WILLIE and FRANK GAIN and chil dren. MRS. ELLA HUST. Flora Park. DESIGNER OF BVILDING SAYS HE WILL NEVER AGAIN ALLOW A PIECE OF WOOD IN THEATRE PITTSBURG, December 30. — Benjamin J. Marshall, the young Chicago architect who designed the Iroquois theatre, left for his home tonight, taking advantage of the first opportunity to view the scene of horror. Mr. Marshall Is likewise the architect of the Nixon theatic in this city. He was overwhelmed by the news of the disaster. ‘Til never allow another theatre to be built with a stick of wood In It," ho declared, reading the bulletins which were handed him. -The Iroquois was built along the very lat st lines, and was provided with twenty-seven double fire exits, but wood was used, and stairways were employed. A flt e-proof building will not be erected as long as wood Is used. In a theatre there are so many articles of Inflammable material that when a blaze once gets headway, It spreads in the most alarming manner." trample under foot, aB they fought for their own lives. As the police removed layer after layer of dead in these door ways, the sight became too much even for police and firemen, hardened as they are to such scenes, to endure. The bodies were In such an Inextricable mass, and so tightly were they Jammed between the sides of the doors and the walls, that It was Impossible to lift them one by one and carry them out. The only possible thing to do, was to seize a limb or some other portion of the body and pull with main strength. STRONG AND HARDENED MEN SHED TEARS Men worked at the task with tears run ning down their cheeks and the sobs of the rescuers could be heard even in the hall below, where this awful scene was being enacted. A number of men were compelled to abandon their task and give it over to others, whose nerves had not as yet been shattered by the awful expe rience. As one by one the bodies were dragged out of the water-soaked, blacken ed mass of corpses, the spectacle became more and more heartrending. There wrere women whose clothing was torn complete ly from their bodies above the waist, whose bosoms had been trampled into a pulp, and whose faces were marred be yond all power of identification. Bodies lay In the first and second bal conies in great numbers. In some places they were piled up In the aisles three and (our feet deep where one had fallen and others tripped over the prostrate forms, and 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 killed with hardly a chance to rise from their seats. One man was found with his back bent nearly double, his spi nal column having been fractured as he was thrown backward. A woman was found cut nearly In half by the back of the seat, she having been forced over It face downward. HARROWING SCENES IN ASHES NEAR DOORS In the aisles nearest to .'ne doors, th2 scenes were harrowing in the extreme. Bodies lay ir) every conceivable attitude, half naked, the look on t >clr faces re vealing in some measure th», agony which must have preceded their death. There were scores and scores of people whose faces had been trampled off by those who rushed, over them, and in one aisle the body of a man was found with not a ves tige of clothing left above his waist line. The other portion of his body had been cut into mincemeat and carried away by the feet of those who had trampled him. A search was carefully made with a hope of finding his head but at a late hour tonight It haij not been discovered and all that will ever tell his Wends who he was. is the color and appearance of the lower limbs, and this Is In such a condition as to be hardly recognizable. The theatre had been erected but a ,iiorf time and all Its equipment was not yet in place. This was unfort'palely the case with the Are escape In the rear of the building. The small Iron balconies to which the Iron ladders were to be at-, tached were up, but the ladders had not yet been conected. When the panic waj at Us height a great number of women ; ran for those fire escapes, only to find as they emerged from the doorway upon the little Iron platform that they were thirty to fifty feet from the ground, with no method of escape In front. Those who reached the platform first endeavored to hold their footing and to keep back the erod'd that pressed on them from the rear. The effort was utterly useless, and In a few moments the Iron ledges were jam med with crowds of women who screamed, fought and tore at each other like mani acs. This lasted but a brief interval, and the rush from the Inteilor of the building became so violent that many of them were crowded off and fell to the gran ite paved alley below. Others leaped from the platform, fracturing legs and arms and two were picked up at this point with fractured skulls, having been killed In stantly. THOUGHTFUL MAN SAVES MANY WOMEN. George H. Elliott, secretary of the gas company, was In the building directly op posite the theatre, and noticing smoke, went down to. ascertain its cause. When he reached the street the women were al ready dropping Into the alley, and Elliott Immediately rushed for a ladder in the effort to save as many as possible. No ladder was available, and the only method of assistance he had was to devise to lash some planks together and throw them across to the affrighted women on the platforms with instructions to place ithe end firmly on the iron framework. ) Before this could be done a fearful ioss (Continued on Second Page) i Take your meals at Gelders'. 110 N. Twentieth st Human Vultures Prey on the Dead and Two Hen are Caught With Baskets Picking Up Valuables Dropped by Victims in Race for the Open Air. Coroner Says Heavy Rails Between the Row of Seats Prevented Many Persons Escaping from the Bal cony, Many Being Killed Trying to Climb Over. Stage Manager Saves Members of the Company by Threatening to Kill the First Person Who At tempted to Leap Into the Orches tra Pit. CHICAGO, December 30.—While scores of men were busy carrying out the dead and injured others fortunately, few in number, search ed the aisles and seats for valuables. Two men were found who had provided themselves with baskets and were filling them with the prop erty of the dead. They were immediately placed under arrest and the the atre ushers and stage hands were given the work of collecting all the valu ables on the floor of the theatre. During the evening the police arrested over a dozen men accused of being thieves and pickpockets. Coroner Traeger made as complete an inspectio.. of the theatre as is possible in the condition in whch it is tonight. He said: If the asbestos curtain had been in working order I believe that the fire might, hav6 been prevent'ed from spreading Into the audience cham ber. An iron railing which separated each row of the seats from the ad joining tier prevented, I think, many from reaching places of safety. Thl3 circumstances, combined with the steep incline, made it difficult for so large an audience to escape without great, delay.” THEATRE WAS FIRE PROOF. “Now this,” said the coroner, "Is a modern Are poof theatre, furnished with all the appliances and equipment that are supposed to prevent just such a satastrophe as has now occurred. The plush on the seats of the first balcony was charred but still vissible. This does not look to me as though everybody would have gotten out of the theatre alive when you take Into account the speed with which the flames had spread. My Inspection showed that the seats on the main floor were burned but little. The balconies had evidently shielded to a large extent the seats In the parquette. The path of the flames was evident. The stage and the celling of the iheatre was blistered and blackened. There was practically no damage to tho furniture on the first floor. The boxes on the second tier were entirely destroyed, while those on the first floor were only burned In spots, evidently by burning fragments from above.” The Iroquois theatre was completed less than two months ago nt a cost of a half million dollars, and was the finest playhouse in Chicago. It was opened to the public on the night of November 23 with “Mr. Blue Beard.” It had a total seating capacity of 1724 chairs, with plenty of standing room on each of the balconies. The records of the building department show that the theatre was complete In every detail, and that It was absolutely fire-proof, all requirements of the law having been complied with. STAGE MANAGER SAVES PERFORMERS. As the frightened actors and actresses rushed in a body off the stage some of them attempted to leap Into the orchestra pit which would In all probability have lead to their death. Stage Managor Cummings ran In front of them. "'I'll kill the first one that tries to pass me,” he shouted, and the members of the com pany shrank back. With the aid of Eddie Foy and Farrell, members of the com pany were hustled from the rear of the theatre Into the alley. Penned below the stage, running about, crazed by the panic overhead, were fifty supernumeraries and members of tho ballet. They were shut off from exit by tho crowd wedged In the stage stairway. They were saved by James J. Ham ilton, a trunk handler attached to the theatre, by a coal hole In the rear, which he soon broke open and stood guard until all had left. Through this narrow hole he lifted men and women clad In their costumes, wearing helmets and tights and one "supe” who Insisted upon carrying his spear with him until Hamilton threat ened to brain him with It unless he dropped it. Will Davis, one of the proprietors of the Iroquois, collapsed tonight under the worry and distress occasioned by the day's work. All night long grief-stricken friends and relatives of missing persons besieged the morgues, where the dead had been carried aw'alting identification. Hundreds of men and women waited In long lines for hours, to finally lose their patience and demand admission. For every single person who was allowed to enter tho death rooms, a score of persons was ordered away. After waiting for several hours In front of Jordan & Co.'s undertaking estab lishment on Madison street, the crowd of mourners, consisting of over 1000 per sons. became impatient, and it took the united efforts of twenty policemen who were guarding the place to quiet the dissatisfied ones Stage hands of the theatre said this evening that tho fire of today was not the. first that had broken out in the theatre. About three weeks ago an Incip ient blaze was started under the stage, but it was never known to the audience. Slight damage was done to several dressing rooms and a number of costumes were destroyed before the flames were extinguished. The lire department was not called and no report of the bjaze was made to the city authorities. PROPRIETORS MAKE STATEMENT. Will J. Davis and Harry J. Powers, proprietors of the Iroquois, make the following statement: ■ Bo far as we have been able to ascertain the cause of the aeldent In the Iroquois, It appears that one of the scenic drapcrlea was noticed to have Ig nited from some cause. It was detected before It had reached an appreciable flame. The firemen, who were only a few feet away. Immediately took a tube of Kllflre, or which there were many hundreds about the stage, and threw the contents upon the blaze, which should have been more than sufficient to have ex tinguished the flame at once, but but for some cause. Inherent in the tube of Kllflre, It had no efTect. The firemen and electrician then ordered down the as bestos curtain, and the firemen threw the contents of other Kllflre upon the blaze with no better result. The commotion thus caused excited the alarm of the audience, who Immediately started for the exits, of which there are twen ty-five of unusual width ready to shove. The draft thus caused. It la believed, and before the curtain could he entirely lowered, produced the belly ing of the asbestos curtain, causing a pressure against the brick wall, thus stopping Its descent. Flvery effort was made by those on the stage to pull it down, but the draft was so great It seemed that the pressure against the proscenium wall and the friction caused thereby was so strong that they could not be overcome. The audience became panic-stricken in their efforts to reach the exits, and tripped and fell over each other, and fell and blocked the way. The audience was promptly admonished and importuned by persons employed on the stage and in the auditorium to be calm and avoid any rush: that the exits and facilities for emptying the theatre were ample to enable them all to get out without confusion. "No expense or precaution was omitted to make the theater as nearly as possible flre-proof. there being nothing combustible In the house, except the trimmings and furnishings of the stage and auditorium. In the building, we sacrificed more space to aisles and exits than any other theater In America.” The above statement was not Issued until 12:15 on the morning of December 31. MOST DESTRUCTIVE IN HISTORY. The disaster was vastly more destructive to human life than any other play house Are In the history of the world. The Are next, in point of lives lost, oc curred December 5, 1878, In Conway's Brooklyn, where 290 of the audience per ished In the flames. The day after Christmas. In 1S11. while the play. "The Bleeding Nun” was bdlng performed In a theatre In Richmond. Va., a tire start ed that burned seventy-live persons.to death, among them being the governor of the state. Oeorge W. Smith. The old world Buppllts no instances of tires In theaters that may be classed with the threo mentioned.