Twelve-year-old George Matthew Liebert* (1891-1940),
was a painting
contractor working at the third floor at Northwestern.
Charles Cubbon, helped George put scaffolding
planks from a window in Northwestern's dental
department across Couch Place alley to the fire
escape landing at the third floor balcony of the
Iroquois. Flames leaping up from windows below
prevented people from descending on the stairs and
many fell or jumped 60 feet to their deaths.
Thirty-five to fifty people made it across the alley
on the planks but most were severely burned and died
A 1918 newspaper story reported
that Liebert rescued forty-seven. The fire department also used the planks to
remove the dead before determining there was no one
left alive on the third floor.
George married the former Helen "Nellie"
Jordan with whom he had three children. He
was the son of German immigrants, William and Minnie
Lackley Liebert. He
was very tall but only a boy when he helped rescue
victims at the Iroquois, turning thirteen three
weeks after the Iroquois Theater fire. In the
years after the fire he worked as a shipping clerk
at an ink manufacturing company and as a court
bailiff. At the end of his life he worked as a
mail clerk and owned his home.
Discrepancies and addendum
* Spelled as
Leibert in 1903 newspapers, with his first name
given as Joseph, but his name was George M. Liebert.
His middle name was sometimes cited as Max, other
times as Matt. He reported it as Max on his
World War I draft card.