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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Significant Illinois Fires: Summary Bibliography

This is a guide to resources online and at IFSI Library that discuss significant fires in Illinois.

IFSI Library Lending Policies

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Local Lending

  • Standard loan period is 4 weeks.
  • Extensions are considered upon request.
  • Requested materials can be picked up in person at IFSI.
  • Photo ID is required to establish a lending account.
  • Lending is limited to Illinois residents.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

  • Standard loan period is 6 weeks.
  • IFSI Library materials can be delivered to a patron’s Illinois local library through ILL service.
  • A public library card is required.
  • ILL delivery to your public library may take up to 2 weeks.


  • Materials in the Illinois Fire Service Archives do not circulate, but patrons are welcome to use these resources in the IFSI Library.
  • Additional access restrictions may also apply.


This is a bibliography of resources used to write the summaries provided for each fire.

Burlington Office Building Fire

  • “10,000,000 Flames!” Chicago Daily Tribune (March 15, 1922).
  • Chicago Board of Underwriters. Report of Chicago Fire of March 15, 1922, Embracing C. B. & Q. R. R. CO. Office Building, Atlantic and Austin (Springer) Buildings and Others. Chicago: Chicago Board of Underwriters, 1922.
  • Hogan, John F., and Alex A. Burkholder. Forgotten Fires of Chicago: the Lake Michigan Inferno and a Century of Flame. Charleston, S.C.: The History Press, 2014.

Chatsworth Train Wreck

  • Buford, Cary Clive. The Chatsworth Wreck: a Saga of Excursion Train Travel in the American Midwest in the 1880s. Fairbury, Ill.: Blade Pub. Co., 1949.
  • El Paso Story: The Centennial Book of El Paso, Illinois. sponsored by the El Paso Library Board, 1954
  • Fliege, Stu. Tales and Trails of Illinois. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2002.

Cherry Mine Disaster

  • Tintori, Karen. Trapped: the 1909 Cherry Mine Disaster. New York: Atria Books, 2002.

Cook County Administration Building Fire

  • Ciokajlo, Mickey, and Sabrina L. Miller. “6 die in Loop blaze.” Chicago Tribune (October 18, 2003).

Crescent City Train Derailment

  • Hill, Irma M. Crescent City Remembers: Father's Day, June 21, 1970. Crescent City, Ill.: Scheiwe's Print Shop, [1995].

Great Chicago Fire

  • Bales, Richard F. The Great Chicago Fire and the Myth of Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2002.
  • Cromie, Robert. The Great Chicago Fire. Nashville: Rutledge Hill Press, 1994.

Illinois Bell Telephone Fire

  • Fire Investigation Report: Telephone Central Office, Hinsdale, Illinois, May 8, 1988. Prepared by Michael S. Isner, Fire Protection Engineer, Fire Investigations Division, National Fire Protection Association.

Iroquois Theater Fire

  • Brandt, Nat. Chicago Death Trap: the Iroquois Theatre Fire of 1903. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2003.
  • Everett, Marshall. Chicago’s Awful Theater Horror. [s. l.]: Memorial Pub. Co., 1904.
  • Hatch, Anthony P. Tinderbox: the Iroquois Theater Disaster, 1903. Chicago: Academy Chicago Publishers, 2003.

LaSalle Bank Fire

  • “Chicago high-rise fire injures 37.” (Dec. 7, 2004).
  • “Fire Sprinkler Group Says LaSalle Bank Fire is a Wake Up Call for Chicago Building Committee to Immediately Pass High-Rise Sprinkler Ordinance.” PR Newswire US (Dec. 7, 2004).
  • “Fire strikes Loop office skyscraper.” Chicago Tribune (Dec. 7, 2004).
  • Lannan, Maura Kelly. “Three dozen injured, mostly firefighters, in Chicago, Illinois Skyscraper Fire.” Associated Press (Dec. 7, 2004).
  • St. Clair, Stacy. “Lessons learned, practice, communication skills learned after last year’s fatal Loop fire helped victims save themselves” Chicago Daily Herald (Dec. 8, 2004)

Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassination Riots

  • Chicago Sun-Times (April 6, 1968)
  • Chicago Sun-Times (April 7, 1968)
  • Cowan, David. Great Chicago Fires: Historic Blazes that shaped a city. Chicago: Lake Claremont Press, 2001.
  • “Many Stores Looted; Firemen Face Snipers” Chicago Tribune (April 6, 1968).

McCormick Place Fire

  • Cowan, David. Great Chicago Fires: Historic Blazes that shaped a city. Chicago: Lake Claremont Press, 2001.
  • Illinois Inspection and Rating Bureau. Report of Investigation of the McCormick Place Fire of January 16, 1967. Chicago: Illinois Inspection and Rating Bureau, 1967.

​​Our Lady of the Angels School Fire

  • Cowan, David and John Kuenster. To Sleep with the Angels: the Story of a Fire. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1996.
  • Grosshandler, William Lytle, et al. Report of the Technical Investigation of the Station Nightclub Fire, Volume II, 2005. National Institute of Standards and Technology, Building and Fire Research Laboratory, 2005.
  • Lacey, Brett and Paul Valentine. Fire Prevention Applications. Oklahoma City: Fire Protection Publications, 2005.
  • Santangelo, Mike, et al. The Greatest Firefighter Stories Never Told. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2002.

St. Anthony's Hospital Fire

  • Chicago Daily Sun-Times. April 6-8, 1949.
  • Chicago Daily Tribune. April 6, 1949.
  • Lyons, Paul Robert. Fire in America! Boston: National Fire Protection Association, 1976.
  • TIME (magazine). April 18, 1949.

Union Oil Company Refinery Fire

  • Davidson, Jean, and Henry Wood. “Oil tank blasts kill 6.” Chicago Tribune (July 24, 1984).
  • Ornberg, Richard. “A Preliminary Report of the Deadly Explosion that Caused $500 Million in Damage.” Firehouse (October 1984): 74-76, 176.
  • Reardon, Patrick, and George Papajohn. “Death roars into refinery on ‘ball of fire.’” Chicago Tribune (July 25, 1984).
  • Reardon, Patrick, and George Papajohn. “Refinery blasts blamed on tower crack.” Chicago Tribune (July 27, 1984).

Union Stockyards Fire

  • Cowan, David. Great Chicago Fires: Historic Blazes that shaped a city. Chicago: Lake Claremont Press, 2001.
  • “Death of Horan to Bring Reform of Water System?” Chicago Daily Tribune (Dec. 23, 1910)

World's Colombian Exposition Fire

  • Appelbaum, Stanley. The Chicago World's Fair of 1893: a photographic record, photos from the collections of the Avery Library of Columbia University and the Chicago Historical Society. New York: Dover Publications, 1980.
  • Chicago Daily Tribune. July 11, 1893.
  • Cowan, David. Great Chicago Fires: Historic Blazes that shaped a city. Chicago: Lake Claremont Press, 2001.
  • Hashagen, Paul. “Chicago World’s Fair of 1893.” Firehouse. July 1993, p. 71-73.
  • Larson, Erik. The Devil in the White City. New York: Crown Publishers, 2003. 

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Libguide created by Quinn Stitt

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