New York, NY Theatre Panic, Nov 1920

Birth, Marriage & Death Records

LOCKED DOOR IS DEATHTRAP

Six Children Killed and Score Hurt In Panic In New York Moving Picture Theater.

FALSE ALARM OF FIRE.

(International News Service)
NEW YORK, Nov. 15 – Six children dead, seventeen others seriously injured, all because of a locked exit, that should have been open, led authorities today to issue stern warnings to proprietors of moving picture theaters. An ordinance, which prohibits children under 16 years of age entering moving picture shows unless accompanied by adults is to invoked and will be rigidly enforced, the authorities announced.
Investigation into Sunday's tragedy, in which a score of children were trampled in a panic caused by a false alarm of fire, continued today. The police are holding as evidence against the proprietors of the house a padlock which was on one of the exit doors and prevented the little ones from escaping.

Children Are Trampled
(By United Press)
NEW YORK, Nov. 15 – Three men were under arrest today, while various city departments were conducting investigations of the fire panic in a movie theater on the lower east side late yesterday which resulted in the death of six children and injury of a dozen others.
The stampede started when a woman shouted “fire,” as smoke from a furnace fire seeped through the floor. The victims ranged in age from two to thirteen years. Those under arrest were BERNARD WEINBERG and MAX SCHWARTZ, proprietors, and JOSEPH POLANI, the manager who started the furnace fire. They were charged with manslaughter.
There were about 400 persons in the theater, half of whom were children. In the gallery the only entrance to which was a steep narrow stairway, were about 100 children.
When the cry of “fire” was raised, the first of the children to reach the stairway stumbled and plunged headlong to the bottom. There they were trampled upon by the fear-maddened children who scrambled after them. According to police the exit door at the foot of the stairway was jammed. When policemen and firemen reached the theater they found a tangle of little forms tightly wedged against this door.
Police had difficulty in handling the frantic parents who rushed to the scene when they heard of the panic.

The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel Indiana 1920-11-15

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SIX TOTS TRAMPLED WHEN CLOGGED FLUE STARTS PANIC.

Smoke Filtering Through Cracks in Floor of Movie Theater in New York's Italian Quarter Causes Stampede.

BANANA VENDOR PROVES HERO RESCUING FIFTEEN

Twelve Others, Children, Injured in Frenzied Rush, Carried to Hospital – Proprietors Held on Charges that One Front Exit Was Locked.

By Associated Press
NEW YORK, Nov. 14 – A paper-clogged furnace flue, which caused smoke to fill the Catherine Theater, a motion picture house in the East Side, Italian quarter, raised a cry of “fire” late today and, in the ensuing panic, six tots between the ages of 2 and 10 years, were trampled to death. Twelve others were seriously injured.

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