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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)
Memories of Horror Rack School Janitor
Injured in Disastrous Fire, He Declares He Won't Go Back
The janitor at Our Lady cannot go back again. James Raymond, 43, said from his hospital bed: “I couldn't work alongside memories of those horrible minutes.”
HE IS recovering in Garfield Community hospital from loss of blood suffered when he cut his wrist while breaking a window.
In a broken, weary voice he 'talked of the dead. “I don't want to know their names,” he said.
He described a “peculiar kind of smoke” in the burning school. “I can breathe coal and wood smoke,” he said. “But I couldn't breathe that.”
RAYMOND is expected to be a central figure in the inquest next week into the deaths.
He has maintained the school stairwell was free of rubbish. But inspectors have said they found evidence of debris in the stairwell that helped spread the fire.

From his hospital bed, Raymond insisted, “There was nothing in that stairway that could start a fire.
HE SAID he was in the boiler room when he first saw “a red glow” through the window in a wall separating the room from the basement section of the stairwell. He ran to the church kitchen, adjacent to the boiler room, and told a cook to call the fire department. He said his next thought was the safe exit of the children.
He ran into a first-floor room, he said, and lifted 11 children out a window. Then he turned and ran up a stairway to the second floor to open the fire escape door and lower the fire escape.
BUT BY the time he reached the second floor, children were at windows gasping for air and some were mounting window ledges from which many jumped.
He lowered the fire escape and turned back to try to lead children to safety.
But the smoke began searing his lungs. He broke a corridor window with his flashlight. It was here that he cut his wrist.
FROM THIS point, he said he could only recall dimly what happened afterward.
He saw blood streaming from his wrist. With nothing to bind it, he rushed back to the boiler room and grabbed a towel and wrapped it around his wrist.
Then he dragged himself to a door on the first floor, stumbled outside, and fainted.
The next thing he recalls was the ambulance ride to the hospital.
HIS OWN five children were in the school when the fire broke out.
A son, John, 11, is in Franklin Blvd. Community hospital with a broken hip suffered when he leaped from a second-floor window.
The four others escaped without Injuries.
Raymond, of 1008 N. Hamlin, had been janitor at the school for 13 years.