Wallaceton, VA Theater Fire, May 1916

Twenty-Three Die In Theater Fire

Gasoline Tank Explodes In Movie House

NORFOLK, Va., May 11 - At least twenty-three negroes were burned to death and from twenty-five to thirty others were more of less seriously hurt last night in a fire which destroyed a frame building in which moving pictures were being shown at Wallaceton, a hamlet on the Dismal Swamp Canal, twelve miles from Norfolk.

The fire resulted from the explosion of a gasoline tank which supplied the lights. The roof fell in before the exits blocked by the frightened negroes could be cleared.

How many were caught in the building has not been determined. There was only one doctor within several miles and he exhausted all available medical supplies within a few minutes. Many of the injured were taken to Portsmouth in automobiles.

The Oakland Tribune California 1916-05-11

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26 PERISH IN THEATER FIRE; 20 INJURED

Explosion of Gasoline in Negro Playhouse at Wallacetown, Va., Disastrous

DEATH LIST SWELLED BY PANIC OF SPECTATORS

Victims Except One Are All Women and Children; Many Trampled to Death

Norfolk, Va., May 11 - Twenty-Six negroes, all women and children, except one, perished in the fire which last night destroyed a motion picture theatre after a gasoline explosion at Wallacetown, near here. A number of children were trampled to death in the rush to escape. Twenty persons were injured, some seriously.

Waterloo Evening Courier Iowa 1916-05-11