Image via WikipediaOk today is the anniversary of the Our Lady of the Angels school fire.
it's been 51 years since the fire.
My dad and aunt went to the school at the time of the fire. My Aunt was in the grade the ended up losing a lot of kids. She was actually supposed to have been in one of the classrooms that lost many many children. My grandparents had moved from the neighborhood but then moved back and my aunt wasn't in the room she should have been. She was due to be transferred into that classroom in a week or so. Her best friend Suzie was the worst burned and lived the longest after the fire. Suzie did end up passing away. My aunt has told me about the fire many times, she ended up staying after she got out of the school and witnessed some not so nice things. My dad was a year younger than her and went straight home he's never talked about it but anyone who knows my dad knows he never tells ANY stories about when he was a kid.
I read a book about the fire when i was in 3rd or 4th grade. A classmate (she was a bit older than my aunt) who was burned in the fire wrote a book called The Fire That Will Not Die (her name was Michele McBride in case anyone wants to look up the book it's back in print. I need to get it again I have no idea what happened to the two copies we had here) It's about her experiences as someone who was burned in the fire.
There is also another book called To Sleep With the Angels there is also a program called chicago stories on WTTW tonight (for those in chicagoland) that talks about the fire it's on one of the digital channels. On Comcast here in chicago it's on at 9pm on channel 243 if you don't have comcast it's on 11.2 (I think that's the from the OLAfire website they sent out an email about it being on.) I haven't been able to get thru the book Angels Too Soon it's just too sad but they do talk about the person who could be responsible for the fire. For a long time people blamed the janitor. My aunt has told me about the kid that they think did it. His family moved out of the neighborhood sometime after the fire.
The OLA fire site has pictures and lots of stuff on it. I've even found pictures of my dad and aunt with their classes in the photos and news area in the class photos area. Kinda weird to see my dad that little and in school lol.