photo shows pipe railings in front of each row in
the third floor gallery balcony. The railings were installed
to prevent people from falling over into the row
below, a risk that was increased because of an
architectural or construction mistake (conflicting
reports) that resulted in the third floor balcony
being more steeply raked than it should have been.
There were other theaters in Chicago with a twenty-inch rise
but at the Iroquois it was twenty-five inches (or
as reported by architect Louis Guenzel in his study
of the Iroquois).
eye witness accounts from the Iroquois Theater
reference torn closing. Sometimes people tore
off their own clothing because it was on fire.
There were other reports of garments being torn when
people trapped on the floor or in a throng of other
people, grasped someone else's sleeve or skirt in a desperate
struggle to free themselves.