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Our Lady of the Angels (OLA) School Fire, December 1, 1958
OLA Fire Period News Articles
(These stories have been reproduced as accurately as possible from the original news reports, including original errors)
90 Die In School Fire (12/1/58)
74 Hurt, Blast Traps Scores (12/1/58)
Tough Chicago Police Weep At The Tragic, Tiny Bundles (12/1/58)
Tom Feared Sight Of Death's Mask (12/1/58)
Margaret Was a Little Girl Who Didn't Like to Be Sick (12/1/58)
Joe Wasn't Hurt, He Saw Only Horror (12/1/58)
Sobbing Nun Tells of Horror In School Fire (12/1/58)
Parish Families Seek Children (12/1/58)
Man, 74, Stricken Helping Children (12/1/58)
F.B.I. Ready to Assist Chicago Fire Inquire (12/1/58)
Panic Grips Classrooms; Confusion Increases Toll (12/1/58)
Everybody was Jumping (12/1/58)
List of Identified Dead In Chicago School Fire (12/1/58)
Fire Gong Tolled A Deadly Message (12/1/58)
Frantic Dad Tells Fire Rescue Role (12/1/58)
85 Youngsters Still Hospitalized; Blaze 3rd Worst In 100 Years (12/2/58)
Smoldering School Ruins Like A Cavern Of Death (12/2/58)
87 Children, 3 Nuns Die in School Fire (12/2/58)
Probers of Fire Ask: Why? (12/2/58)
Schoolboy Smoking Cigaret Might Have Touched Off Fire (12/2/58)
One Family's Story (12/2/58)
Throng Just Waits, Looks (12/2/58)
The Morgue (12/2/58)
School Fire Chicago's Worst in 55 Years (12/2/58)
“I'll Remember It to My Dying Day,” Says Fireman (12/2/58)
Chronology Shows Speed of Disaster (12/2/58)
Girl Recalls Burning Backs Of Classmates (12/2/58)
Chicago Presses Search for Clues to Fire At School (12/2/58)
'I Won't Give Up Hope,' Says Father (12/2/58)
Boy Who Jumped Tells of Tragedy (12/2/58)
Pope John Wires Condolences to Bereaved Kin (12/2/58)
Arson Squad to Probe Fire in School Last Year (12/2/58)
“It's Just Too Much,” Laments Archbishop (12/2/58)
Hospitals Work Around Clock to Relieve Injured (12/2/58)
Other School Tragedies (12/2/58)
Moscow Says School Fire No Accident (12/2/58)
Memories of Horror Rack School Janitor (12/2/58)
How Fireman Feels Carrying Out Victims (12/3/58)
Third Worst In Nation (12/3/58)
Priests Try Vainly To Comfort Bereaved Relatives And Parents (12/3/58)
Struggle to Save Fire Survivors Continues (12/3/58)
Gigantic IFs Jolt Probers Digging Into Fire Mystery (12/3/58)
Fire Leads to School Checkups (12/3/58)
Rites Held for Nuns Killed in School Fire (12/4/58)
10,000 Mourners at Funeral Of Three Nuns Killed in Fire (12/4/58)
Mass Offered for 28 Small Victims of Fire (12/5/58)
Fire Victim's Souls Commended to God (12/5/58)
91st Chicago Victim Of School Fire Dies (12/6/58)
500 Children Face Questioning In School Fire (12/6/58)
Bereaved Families Mourn in Chicago (12/7/58)
9-Year-Old Boy Dies, Raises Chicago School Fire Toll to 92 (12/8/58)
Boy Becomes 92d Victim of Chicago Fire (12/8/58)
School Fire Horror Probed (12/11/58)
Chicago School Afire Long Before 1st Alarm (12/11/58)
Terror, Torment Related by School Fire Victims (12/13/58)
Girl Fire Victim, 9, Wonders Why Cards Have Stopped Coming (12/14/58)
Fire. Thirty-Eight O Eight Iowa...The Alarm Was Desperate, the Tragedy Incredible! (12/15/58)
Nightmare in the News (12/15/58)
Disasters - The Chicago School Fire (12/15/58)
How Safe Are The Schools (12/15/58)
Fire Hazards Found At 2 City Schools
Two Schools To Be Closed As Fire Risks
Texas School Tragedy Of 294 Dead Recalled
$50,000? So What?
Erect Fireproof School Building (11/30/59)
City Cleared As Defendant In School Fire (7/19/60)
New School Open (9/60)
Considered prime suspect in Chicago blaze (1/16/1962)
Boy Admits Fire Fatal To 95 (1/16/62)
Judge Rips Lie Tester On Boy's Story Of Fire (1/16/1966)
Cicero Won't Let Police Talk to Youth (1/16/1962)
Lad Cleared in School Fire (3/13/62)
Memories stay forever - Our Lady of Angels fire survivor (11/83)
'Born fireman' wanted to be part of the action (6/1/2003)
Girl Recalls Burning Backs Of Classmates
CHICAGO, Dec. 2 - (AP) - Children from hospital beds, many with burns, told of the frenzy and hysteria, of escapes and rescues in the holocaust at Our Lady of the Angels School Monday.
The scene they described were ones of horror.
Linda Barleto, 12, in a hospital suffering burns and bruises, said as she sipped orange juice.
“Our backs were burning. Then someone pushed me out of a window.”
In an adjacent bed was Andrea Gagliareo, 12, Linda's cousin and classmate.
“Some of the boys jumped out of the window,” Andrea said.
“When we looked down we say them lying still on the ground. They didn't move.”
Frances Panno, 10, her face and hands burned and her black hair charred, told from the Franklin Boulevard Hospital of her rescue of the school by firemen.
“Other pupils were screaming and pushing behind me,” she said. “Then some firemen came up ladders put against the windows and took me down the ladder.”
Mary Brock, 10, a fifth grade pupil on the second floor of the building, said someone in her classroom yelled, “I smell smoke.”
“When the classroom door was opened, a lot of smoke blew in,” she said. “Sister Mary Clara Theresa told us to get out of the windows and get on the ledge and stay there. I got out the window and stood on the ledge, but lots of others jumped.”
Mary Latianzio, 12, a seventh grader, said she knew nothing about the fire until she heard children screaming in an adjoining eight grade roo.
“Smoke begin to pour into our room,” Mary related. “A lot of children began to cry. There was a big jam at the door of the room because so many wanted to get out. One boy collapsed from inhaling smoke. Another was hanging out of a window, calling for help.”
Joseph Brocato, 11, a sixth grade pupil, was brought to St. Elizabeth's Hospital by his father. Anthony Joseph said he and a classmate were emptying waste paper baskets from his classroom in the boiler room. That was near 3 o'clock, the time of dismissal of classes for the day.
“Suddenly,” Joseph told a reporter, “I saw the janitor running from the boiler room. The janitor yelled 'Call the fire department.' My classmate and I ran upstairs and were told by the nuns to go into the church (around the corner from the school). A lot of children were in the church. We then were told to go home.”
Sylvia Tesauro, 13, an eighth grader, told her story from a room in the Walther Memorial Hospital, where she was confined with three other pupils.
“Two girls entered our classroom and said the hall was filled with smoke,” Sylvia related. “Sister tried to lead the classroom downstairs. We were forced back by the thick black smoke and had to go to the windows to get air. Many of the girls were crying, sobbing like everything.
“Firemen raised ladders up against the ledge and I came down a ladder. Other pupils were jumping and falling from windows. On the ground children were lying all around and there was a lot of blood on the ground.”
George Tomilia(sic), 10, said [he climbed onto] the second floor ledge. He dangled briefly from the ledge by his fingertips, then jumped. He suffered a fractured hip.