Kokomo, IN Theater Panic, Apr 1905

FIRE PANIC IN THEATER.

THOUGHTLESS OPERATOR OF PICTURE MACHINE STARTS RUSH FOR EXITS.

Kokomo, Ind., April 10. -- GEORGE ARMSTRONG, 17 years old, was fatally injured and a score of persons seriously burned last night during a fire in the Sipe theater, caused by the ignition of a roll of celluloid films used in a moving picture machine. In the panic that followed ARMSTRONG jumped through a window in the third floor and sustained fatal injuries.
A moving picture show was in progress and during the intermission a bag of celluloid film, suspended over the balcony railing was ignited by an electric light. The machine operator threw the audience into a panic and started a rush for the fire escapes and exits with a cry of "Look out everybody, the theater is afire!" In an instant about 600 people rushed toward the exits. That more were not hurt is largely due to the excellent system of fire escapes and exits in the theater and the deportment of the house employes.
Young ARMSTRONG occupied a seat in the gallery and at the warning cry of the machine operator he broke a plate glass window and jumped to the sidewalk, a distance of 40 feet. He is still unconscious, both legs are broken and he is internally injured.
MRS. BERT JACOBS was so affected by the shock as to require the attention of physicians for more than two hours. Her condition is serious. VANCE HUNT was badly burned by the flaming films. Several others were severely burned. The theater is damaged only by smoke.

Indiana Evening Gazette Pennsylvania 1905-04-10