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The Robinson Library >> American History >> United States: Local History and Description >> Old Northwest >> Illinois >> Chicago

Chicago's McCormick Place Destroyed By Fire

Built in 1960, the centerpiece of Chicago's convention and trade show business was supposed to last forever. Forever ended on January 16, 1967.

Smoke was first reported by janitors at 2:05 a.m. Fire Commissioner Robert Quinn arrived on the scene at 2:30 a.m., and immediately called for a five-alarm response. After wasting valuable time trying to thaw four of seven hydrants, firefighters discovered that the hydrants had actually been disconnected from the water lines by contractors working on a nearby interchange. By the time the fire was fully extinguished at 9:48 a.m. the roof had collapsed and the building had been all but destroyed. One person died in the fire, a 31-year-old security guard named Kenneth Goodman, whose burned body was found in the rubble. Investigators eventually determined that the inferno had begun as an electrical fire in a single exhibition booth set up as part of the National Housewares Manufacturers Association show, which was supposed to have opened on the day of the fire.

Firefighters hose down the smoldering remains of McCormick Place.
hosing down what remains of McCormick Place

Aerial view of McCormick Place showing the collapsed roof.
aerial view of McCormick Place after the fire

INTERNET SOURCES
Chicago Tribune
articles.chicagotribune.com
Exhibit City News
www.exhibitcitynews.com
National Fire Protection Association
www.nfpa.org

SEE ALSO
Fires in 1957

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The Robinson Library >> American History >> United States: Local History and Description >> Old Northwest >> Illinois >> Chicago

This page was last updated on October 03, 2017.