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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)
Erect Fireproof School Building
Rising From Tragedy Scene
CHICAGO (AP)“If there ever was a fireproof building, this is it.”
A workman made that comment to a reporter as they stood near a construction site at the north-east corner of Avers Avenue and Iowa street.
They looked at a sturdy steel and concrete skeleton that is rising from the ashes and charred bricks of the Our Lady of the Angels School.
The only wood in the new million-dollar, three-story building will be in the doors.
A new fire alarm box already stands like a sentry on the sidewalk on the Iowa Street side. It symbolizes the determination that there shall be no repetition of the blaze that swept up an open stairwell of the old school Dec. 1, 1958.
That fire cost the lives of 92 children and 3 nuns.
Our Lady of the Angels pupils attend classes elsewhere while workmen labor on the new structure.
A newsman who revisited the scene recalled the eerie silence that shrouded the area that short, dark, cold day almost a year ago.
Spectators had gathered behind fire lines to stare at the ruined building. Parishioners trickled into the nearby church to offer silent prayers.
That was a silence of mass shock. It has been replaced by a mum reluctance to talk about the tragedy.
“I'd rather not talk about it.” Mrs. Joseph Modica told a reporter who called at her home.
Her son, Joseph Jr., 9. had started work last fall on a Christmas gift for her. He took letters of the alphabet that were made of cereal and glued them on sticks to spell out a vow: “I, Joseph, promise to do my best to do my duty to God end to my country, to be square and to - -”
He never finished his project. He died in the fire.
At another neat brick home, Mrs. Joseph Makowski let the reporter in through an entry hall where a statue of the mother of Christ was enshrined on a wall. She lost a son, Raymond, in the fire.
She didn't want to talk, either. But she did mention one detail of her sorrow.
“He was going to be 13 that Christmas Eve,” she said.
In these homes and elsewhere of bitterness in the parish. The rectory denied rumors of physical or menial breakdowns among nuns.
The pastor, Msgr. Joseph F. Cussen, suffered a stroke last May. After a long stay in a hospital he has returned to his post as head of one of Chicago's largest parishes.
He arranged an anniversary Mass for the fire victims at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The fire left a legacy of litigation as well as sorrow. Suits seeking 52. 305, 000 in damages have been filed against the Roman Catholic archbishop of Chicago, who controls the school property, and the city of Chicago. They were filed in behalf of the families of 16 of the pupils who died and six of the 80 children who were injured.