|At OLA on 12/1/58?
||Born before or after 12/1/58?
||Where Lived on 12/1/58?
||Silver Spring, Maryland
I was 10 years old on 1 December 1958 and attended St. Michael's Catholic School in Silver Spring, Maryland. I was in the 5th grade, the same grade as many of those who died in the fire. I remember hearing about the fire as it was occurring, and feeling devastated and spooked. Afterwards, I was scared to be in my 5th grade classroom on the second floor of my school, but soothed myself with the knowledge that most of my school, including my classroom, was made of brick, steel and other hard-to-burn materials. Steel stairs to the outside were directly outside one of the doors to my classroom. Another wing of our school apparently was older and didn't have a lot of steel in it. The school's boiler room was in the basement of that wing, right next to the back stairs. I remember seeing trash bins in the boiler room. In our school, kids were sent down to the boiler room to empty trash cans as well! The set-up at my school reminded me of some of the information I had heard about Our Lady of the Angels School. I remember seeing a workman installing a metal door at the bottom of those stairs, in the basement, about a month after the fire at Our Lady of the Angels. I was spooked, scared and haunted by the fire for a long time. And, to some extent, I still am. I identified with those children who were in the Chicago fire. Almost every year, on 1 December, I remember what happened in the Our Lady of the Angels School fire. About five years ago, I visited the site and saw the church and the new school. This truly is "the fire that won't die" for me. I cannot forget it. It is eerie. I finally read the book "To Sleep With The Angels," and thought it unusual that the info I had heard about the fire on the day it occurred was mostly consistent with the account told in the book.