About 1,500 children crammed into Victoria Hall; most of these were occupying the gallery. At the end of Fay’s performance, toys and other prizes were to be distributed, so the children eagerly pushed forward down a lone staircase to get to the stage.
The children ran from the gallery down the narrow staircase. At the bottom of the staircase was a door fixed so that only one child at a time could pass: the width of the opening was about twenty to twenty-four inches.
The management had jammed the door in this manner in order to assure that each child had purchased a ticket. This situation created a death trap, for when the first child became jammed there, the next one piled up on top until the bodies were twenty deep.
Those on the bottom of the gruesome heap were crushed to death as those behind continued to stampede.
The caretaker, Frederick Graham, tried to untangle the squirming, shrieking mass, but found the weight too much to lift. He then ran up another staircase and led approximately 600 children to safety by another exit.