The Italian Hall Disaster - December 24, 1913
In the YouTube video below Steve Lehto, author of Death's Door: The Truth Behind Michigan's Largest Mass Murder, describes the events of the Italian Hall disaster. Hundreds of people gathered for a party on Christmas Eve approximately 107 years ago today. Many of them were immigrant miners and their families who had worked in the local copper mines around Calumet, Michigan but had been on strike for most of 1913. During the party a man, identified by witnesses later as a strike breaker hired by the copper mines, ran into the crowded party and falsely shouted a cry of "fire!". The hoax caused the party attendees to panic and around 73 victims died in the chaos that the false alarm created. More than two-thirds of the victims of the Italian Hall disaster were children.
The person who raised the false alarm was never arrested for the hoax. The only arrests that resulted seem to be for practicing the First Amendment right of freedom to the press. As noted by mlive.com:
...Writers for a Finnish newspaper were arrested on Dec. 27, 1913 when a story was printed that branded the deaths as murder, according to Rebels on the Range, a book about the strike by Arthur Thurner.
Presumably the powerful influence that the copper mining industry had over the community prevented any legal prosecuton that could have occured for the negligent homicide of the victims.