Theater manager Will Davis
testified that business manager Thomas Noonan made
two valiant attempts to reach the ushers.
Reportedly Noonan went through
the window in his office, out onto one of three
small ornamental balconies that looked over the
grand hall / foyer and jumped to the floor into the
crowd below. The throng of people leaving the
theater swept him out into the street.
Reportedly he did this twice. To make the
second attempt, he would have had to run up the
utility stairwell at the far east side of the
vestibule to reach his second floor office,
passing by the locked door on the landing that lead
to the stairs up to the third floor.
Throughout most of the fire,
William McMullen, James Strong and fireman Michael
Roche were working to open that door but there is no testimony of
interaction between them and Noonan. Nothing
was reported about why Noonan didn't use the utility
stairwell on the west side of his office that went
up to the third floor promenade. One answer
might be that Noonan was most concerned about
directing the ushers on the first floor. Davis
bleated that a dozen managers could not have done
more but surely a manager would have had sense enough to
open doors ushers later testified they could have
opened had it but occurred to them.
Thomas J. Noonan Jr. (b.1877) was treasurer at the
Iroquois and three years earlier had been the treasurer
at another theater managed by Davis, the
Columbia Theater in Chicago. (That also
Davis had a friend named Noonan that served with him
on the USS Blackhawk and worked with him in Natchez
for the Revenue Service. The Thomas Noonan who
worked for Davis in the Columbia and Iroquois lived
with his parents, Thomas & Johanna. So far I have
not been able to determine if he was the son of
Will's old friend.
A few years later, in 1906, a Thomas Noonan of
Chicago filed a patent for a fire escape. Same