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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.
Aerial view of McCormick Place
showing the collapsed roof.
This page was last updated on January 11, 2017.