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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 Fire Victim, 9, Wonders Why Cards Have Stopped Coming
“Charlene, Charlene. I'm so afraid.”
That was Jannet Gasteier calling to her best friend, classmate and across-the-street neighbor.
Teary-eyed, both girls fought blindly to escape the angry heat that rushed into Room 210 at Our Lady of the Angels School that awful day almost two weeks ago.
When she could stand it no longer, Charlene Campanale, 9, of 1054 N. Springfield, jumped from the second-floor window.
Dies In Inferno
Jannet Gasteier, 9, of 1057 N. Springfield never got out. She died in the inferno.
When Charlene struck the ground outside the school, she broke her back and split her hipbone.
Rescuers snatched her away from the other falling bodies and sped her to Norwegian Hospital, 1044 N. Francisco.
She's been there ever since. Flat on her back. Unable to look any way but up at the ceiling.
Doctors have put her head in traction. They say she must not turn over. Not even move, if possible. Otherwise her spinal injury might be permanent.

But she has nightmares. In the lonely hours of the night, she awakens from tortured dreams in which she hears Jannet calling to her.
“Mommy, Mommy. Hold me. I'm scared, mommy.”
And her mother is there to hold her, because that is when Charlene tries to turn over. Her mother is there not just to comfort her, but to keep her from aggravating her injury.
Blue-eyed, brown-haired Charlene doesn't know Jannet is dead.
Mrs. LaVergne Campanale, 28, her mother, can't bring herself to tell Charlene. “Charlene keeps asking about Jannet. I tell her that she has a broken leg, but that I don't know which hospital Jannet is in. Charlene wants to send her a card. Cards. They have become the big thing in Charlene's life.” Mrs. Campanale said.
Doctors have fitted Charlene with special prism glasses, so that even though she must lie on her back she can see the cards her mother has tacked to the wall.
When Charlene first arrived at the hospital, she received the brightly colored cards by the dozens.
Now the number sent to her has dwindled to almost none. This has saddened the sick little girl who told her mother: “Gee, mommy. They are so nice. They make me feel so good, I enjoy them more than comic books.”
Only One At Hospital
Mrs. Campanale feels well-wishers may be overlooking Charlene because she is the only one of the injured hospitalized at Norwegian American. Most of the efforts to ? the children are concentrated at hospitals where several are being treated.
The pastor of Our Lady of the Angels issued another kind of appeal.
The Rt. Rev. Msgr. Joseph F. Cussen said that trained nurses and blood donations “from people who have been victims of burns themselves” are urgently needed to help the injured children.
He said nurses and donors should telephone him at the church.
Meanwhile Saturday, the Chicago Our Lady of the Angels Fund which was nearing $300,000 received another boost.
The publishers of the World Book Encyclopedia announced $1,000 will be donated in memory of an employe's(sic) brother who died in the disaster.
Bailey K. Howard, president, said the donation will be made in the name of Lawrence Grasso, 13-year-old brother of Mary Ann Grasso, 531 N. Trumbull, who is employed in the firm's IBM department.
Howard said the board of directors also voted to replace books destroyed in the school fire with five sets of the World Book Encyclopedia.