The Dillon family
were lucky to escape from the second floor balcony
at the Iroquois Theater.
Seventeen-year-old Jessie M.
Dillon, her father, fifty-six-year-old Francis
Dillon and two brothers, nineteen year-old Frederick
Dillon and nine-year-old Harry Dillon, were sitting
in the second floor balcony in the Iroquois Theater.
Jessie was first in her
party to see the fire and called it to the attention
of her father and brother. They shushed her, saying
it was part of the performance. Many in the audience
made that mistake in the early minutes of the fire.
When the entire curtain was
blazing, her father picked her up in his arms,
Frederick picked up Harry, and the foursome headed
for the exit.
Among the last to escape that balcony,
the Dillons did not
encounter a problem until reaching the front lobby
where two of nine doors were locked.
The crush of the crowd pushed Jessie through one of
the doors into the vestibule.
The Dillon family owned
their home at 416 West Seventieth Place
in the Englewood area.
The Dillon children probably attended
School. Francis Marion Dillon (1847-1943), a
mail agent, and his wife, Alice Experience Merrill
Dillon (1854-1941) married in 1879. All the
family members were Illinois natives. Francis
and Alice's eldest son, twenty-two year old Edgar,
did not attend the theater with the family.